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What? Me? Mentor?

What? Me? Mentor?

March 30, 2015

Authored by Lynne Rogers, project manager to the Europe Regional Managing Director

Lynne is an Incorporated Civil Engineer and currently working as the rotational assistant to Mark Thurston, Europe Managing Director for CH2M. Lynne’s background is in rail and this was used as the one of the main matching points for SMF. Lynne is now entering into her second year as an SMF mentor.

Informal mentoring, such as working with more junior colleagues who were going through the things I had experienced a few years earlier, is something that I have always done.  So working with the organisation, Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) and an engineering student was a fantastic opportunity to put mentoring into a more formal capacity. The student I was matched with was incredibly driven, gifted and determined and left me wondering what I had to offer and at which point I thought – What? Me? Mentoring? I have nothing to offer!

My mentee  is a 17-year-old female at an all-girls school in Birmingham with an interest in chemistry and railway engineering. Academically we were worlds apart, however my work experience in the rail sector was the thing that really sparked her interest and I was able to explain how projects and programmes worked and that it didn’t stop at engineering.

All communication was driven by SMF to begin with and was conducted over email. I made initial contact and the information flow quickly started. I was just one part of her larger support network and so the pressure wasn’t all on me to be the only point of support. The time dedicated to mentoring was not onerous and the emails were a nice distraction from the full force of work.

My student visited London and CH2M HILL for a week in August 2014 as part of the CH2M HILL Foundation’s supported Engineering Residential Programme. During this week she joined 24 other SMF students and participated in the range of activities that undoubtedly fuelled her interest in engineering. This experience allowed her to build her network and confidence in a safe and controlled environment.

Over the course of the year, we have communicated via email and I have visited her school for one–to-one discussions on her forth coming University interviews. She  has been offered places at three Universities to study mechanical engineering or railway engineering and will be sitting her A-level exams in a few short months. Overall the experience for me was wonderful to see someone grow in confidence and achieve  her full potential. It also reminded me of how we grow into our roles and how much learning I have done since being an engineering student .

Overall mentoring through SMF was a positive and rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone. Just give it a go.

The Social Mobility Foundation is a UK-based charity that exists to support high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds into the top universities and professions. SMF does this by providing a holistic programme of support encompassing internships, mentoring, university application support and skills development to students predicted to achieve ABB or above at A-Level who are from less privileged backgrounds. A long-standing community partner for CH2M HILL, the Social Mobility Foundation received its first CH2M HILL Foundation grant in 2013 to implement the first Engineering Residential Programme held for 25 A-Level students in CH2M’s London office in August 2014. A second Foundation grant will support the programme again in July 2015. In addition the company provides nearly 30 mentors who support SMF students around the country over a 12-month mentoring relationship.  

 

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