Although this area of work is open to all graduates and diplomates, a degree/HND in a national curriculum subject may be useful. A degree covering some of the issues involved in learning mentoring is also useful.
In particular, the following subjects may improve your chances:
Entry without a degree/HND is possible, although many entrants have a degree and some have training in a related field such as guidance, education, psychology and health, youth, community or social work. A good standard of general education is usually required, particularly in English and maths.
A postgraduate degree is not necessary for entry, but some learning mentors have professional qualifications.
Experience of working with young people is essential (either paid or voluntary) and it is extremely useful to have some experience of mentoring, either as a mentor or mentee. Experience of working in an education setting is also valuable. Examples include youth work, working with a holiday scheme or in a school.
Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
You will also need to obtain police clearance via a Disclosure and Barring Service check if you are working with young people.
Competition for jobs can be fierce but your chances of entry can be greatly enhanced by relevant work experience. Any voluntary work that involves working with young people and helping them to solve problems or look at issues that are affecting them is helpful in proving your suitability for the role.
Some vacancies specifically ask for graduates with training in the field of education, psychology, health or social work.
Some universities run mentoring schemes, which are an opportunity to gain experience. Local authorities may also run volunteer learning mentor schemes; learning mentors are generally open to offers of volunteer help. In order to gain relevant experience (working with children), volunteers will need to obtain CRB clearance.
Experience of mentoring in a range of roles is useful, for example supporting people with disabilities or peer-to-peer mentoring. See the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation website for information on joining a volunteer mentoring scheme.
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