Government agencies, MPs, Peers and organisations across all sectors of the UK celebrated in an overwhelming response to this year’s National Mentoring Day (taking place each year on 27th October). The initiative aims to celebrate the impact of mentoring and campaigns to make mentoring accessible to everyone, regardless of age, background, or ethnicity.
National Mentoring Day was inaugurated in the House of Lords with Lord David Young as the patron. Founded by Chelsey Baker, a prominent business mentor to educate, connect, inspire and support all forms of mentoring to effect positive change to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The initiative asks everyone to commit one hour to mentor someone and to recognise mentors and mentoring initiatives that are making a difference. Support came in far and wide from UK Government, the NHS, BBC, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, British Army, Princes Trust, Google, FSB, Institute of Directors, Stephen Kelly (TechNation), Dame Kelly Hoppen, Lord Hastings CBE, Sherry Coutu CBE, LBC, philosopher Professor Dr Ervin Laszlo alongside hundreds of organisations, businesses and charities who took part in the national day.
Chelsey Baker is one of the UK’s leading business mentors who launched the campaign to raise awareness on the mentoring opportunities available and to inspire more people to become a mentor and seek mentoring. Chelsey says, “As a nation we urgently need to embrace mentoring for all and support businesses and individuals being left behind during the pandemic. Everyone has life skills and experience to share as a mentor. One word, one hour can be all that's needed to effect a positive change in someone.”
Over 100 MP’s and Peers across the UK gave their time to mentor a young person to support the Diana Award’s ‘One Hour, One Young Person, One Parliamentarian’ campaign’.
Dr Lisa Cameron MP highlighted the campaign in the House of Commons and said, “As chair of the APPG for Mentoring I’m delighted to be supporting National Mentoring Day. Mentoring plays a vital role in the lives of our young people, particularly those who are vulnerable. As a Parliamentarian, I believe it’s important we lead by example and provide mentoring opportunities across the UK, accessible to all."
Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award comments: “We are delighted with the overwhelming response from MP’s to support youth mentoring. We know that mentoring can be life-changing for a young person and enhances their future prospects.”
Trudy Harrison MP for Copeland took part in a virtual one-hour mentoring session with politics student, Emily Tidey. Emily said: “The opportunity to receive mentoring from an MP for National Mentoring Day is incredible. It can be so difficult to get first-hand experience and insight into politics, I’m incredibly grateful.”
Praise poured in on #nationalmentoringday trending on twitter thanking mentors from all walks of life. This year saw a huge increase in organisations giving back by launching mentoring initiatives to coincide with the day.
Google in partnership with Digital Boost, committed to providing 10,000 hours of free mentoring to small business owners and charities in the UK. Ronan Harris, Managing Director, Google UK, comments: "Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Like millions up and down the country, we want to help small businesses both survive and thrive. That's why in partnership with Digital Boost, we've committed to providing 10,000 hours of free mentoring for small business owners, charities and individuals to help people upskill and adapt to operating in the ever-changing current climate. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, we want to show that having an online presence can have a transformative impact on offline businesses”.
NatWest partnered with Be the Business to launch a free mentoring service in response to findings that show female business owners are at a disadvantage. Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest said, “Women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to sponsors, mentors, or professional supporter networks. For female entrepreneurs, and the UK economy to truly prosper, this balance must be reset.”
Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee teamed up with Ronel Lehmann to launch #LegUp asking those in employment to help just one person back into work. “We’re asking the Country to become mentors to help assist those who need it most.” said Ronel Lehmann, CEO, Finito, The Employability Experts. Speaking about the importance of mentoring Robert Halfon MP said: “Mentoring helps improve focus and attainment, raises aspirations and provides valuable support – especially for those who are underachieving or at risk of dropping out of education.”
Lord Dr Michael Hastings CBE, Professor of Leadership, Chancellor at Regent’s University and Vice President of UNICEF commented “Companies are full of people with immense skills. These are skills which can be gifted by the act of mentorship to empower others to be fruitful and effective - by gifting our skills so that other people can thrive.”
“I’m very keen on National Mentoring Day. I'm very keen on mentoring as a wholesome experience. I'm very keen that hundreds of thousands of people come forward to be mentors with wide-open ears, but hundreds of thousands of others come forward to mentor and say, "I’ve really got some good knowledge to pass on here. I'm going to get out there and give time and life to others".
National Mentoring Day UK was marked by a celebration event held in partnership with the Diana Award giving young mentees the opportunity to have conversations with Lord Michael Hastings, Tessy Ojo CBE, Chelsey Baker (CEO National Mentoring Day) and leading professionals across sectors to understand how to best support young people with practical mentoring solutions.
The Institute of Directors joined in by recognising the work being done by all their volunteer mentors to help small businesses with a call for more members to sign up to their scheme. In sport, West Ham United Foundation launched their new ‘Training Ground’ Mentoring programme to encourage career and personal development for young people in East London.
Requests for mentoring for the suffering hospitality industry flooded in. The Institute of Hospitality offered their MentorMe scheme. Francisco Macedo, (GM of Cliveden House) supported with a plea “As industry professionals we have a duty of giving back by mentoring.” The Craft Guild of Chefs launched their new UK wide mentoring scheme on the day. Michelin starred chef Chris Galvin, pleaded with chefs to sign up to mentor. Chef Paul Askew tweeted “It’s great there’s a day celebrating this priceless part of developing the next generation.”
Worldwide virtual events also took place in English, Spanish and Arabic, organised in partnership with Viola Edward founder of Grit Academy. Top leaders from education, business, sustainability, leadership and the caring economy joined Chelsey Baker to discuss best practices and connect mentoring initiatives around the world to encourage global participation in mentoring.
Throughout the year the initiative continues to encourage the development of more mentoring schemes and recognise the invaluable contribution of mentorship in business, education, sport and society. Chelsey Baker closes by saying “These incredible initiatives that were launched on National Mentoring Day will have a lasting effect to peoples’ lives and to wider society. This is a significant boost for business development in the UK and towards helping us reach our goal of making mentoring accessible to everyone. Mentoring means 'making a difference' and this is exactly what National Mentoring Day is all about.”
“We want this initiative to carry on throughout the year. Mentoring gives a sense of purpose to both parties, it’s not only good for business but also good for the soul!”
Event Date for your diary - 27th October. Don’t wait until then to explore mentorship. Start planning now to be a mentor or find a mentor Why? Because Mentoring Matters.
Join in the mentoring conversations on #nationalmentoringday