Cobh YMCA is looking for volunteers to apply to become a mentor to a young person on the STEP training course. A few hours a month could help a young person succeed in their chosen career option. By giving some of their time to provide support to young people during and after the course, a Mentor can provide the support needed to progress them towards their own personal, educational and vocational goals. Please read the information below and if you wish to apply to become a mentor, complete the Application form and Questionnaire. If you cannot download the forms, please contact James on 4814060 in the YMCA office.
FAQ’s about YMCA STEP’s Mentoring Programme
What is STEP?
STEP is a vocational training programme for young people aged 17-25. It enables young people to participate creatively in identifying, owning and realizing their goals in learning to gain employment or go on to further education. It is a ‘Second Chance’ programme lasting 21 weeks, which is based on a participative and learner centered approach. The STEP programme seeks to raise motivation and to build the self-esteem of young people through developing a number of core skills such as communications and personal effectiveness. It seeks to introduce participants to the world of Information and Communications Technology and to prepare them for the workplace. STEP is also actively involved in the process of seeking certification for participants through the Further Education Training and Awards Council (FETAC) and trains and tests them to acquire the European Computer Driving License (ECDL).
Why is there a need for the mentoring programme?
A need has been identified to provide young people with some support mechanisms during and after STEP.
The end of course evaluation with trainees has identified the need for this type of support, with some statements such as “what will we do after we leave STEP” or “how will I stay motivated”. The contrast between the intense level of support during STEP (full time study for 22 weeks) compared to the feelings of ‘going solo’ after STEP, can often accentuate these fears.
Given the present economic climate which indicates that young people are more likely to be unemployed and coupling this with the increased competition for college places, STEP graduates are now facing even greater challenges than in previous years.
What is the Mentoring Programme?
The Mentoring Programme is supported by YMCA staff and consists of volunteer mentors being matched to a young person on the STEP course. The mentor, with support from YMCA staff, will begin the relationship whilst the young person is on STEP and will maintain the relationship after the young person has left.
The aim of the programme is to help the young person maintain their motivation and progress towards the goals and objectives they have set themselves during STEP. The focus of these goals will primarily be based on vocation and career, however non-vocational issues may well arise as obstacles to career progression.
Being a mentor will involve working with your designated young person on a one to one basis.
How much time will I be asked to commit to?
Following your initial application you will be asked to attend a meeting, at which we will have a conversation that will focus on your experiences and attitudes towards young people. This will last up to one and a half hours. There will be a one day training which will provide you with skills, information and awareness of how to be a mentor.
When you are matched to a young person you will attend two sessions per month at the YMCA on a set evening throughout the course (Sept-Dec or Feb-June). Whilst trainees are on work experience you will meet them twice at a time to suit you both. Upon completion of STEP there will be one further meeting facilitated by YMCA staff after which you will be expected to arrange and hold the meetings at a time to suit you both.
Following this you will be expected to meet once or twice a month.
You will be expected to discuss the mentoring process once a month with the Mentor Coordinator (in person or via phone) and to meet the Coordinator for an evaluation meeting on a quarterly basis.
The mentoring process you are asked to commit to is 12months. Each ‘meeting’ should last at least 30minutes, but often sessions will last an hour or longer.
Will there be any training or support?
You will attend a full day of training following your application and meeting with YMCA staff. The training will provide information on child protection issues, sourcing information and signposting young people to information, communication skills and methodologies, specific training on issues and situations that you may encounter, explanations of the guidelines to being a mentor and an introduction to the supporting YMCA STEP team of staff.
You will be directly supported by professionals in issues such as health and health promotion, information services and career information, training and teaching, drugs and alcohol as well as a designated Mentor Coordinator.
Training events will be provided for all mentors on a needs basis, should a training need be identified or arise.
What if the mentor experience does not work out?
In the event that the relationship is not successful, there is a process for exiting the relationship for both the mentor and mentee. Mentors should identify their concerns to the mentor supervisor as early as possible and give notice to them and the mentee of at least 2 meetings. The mentor supervisor may suggest a 3-way meeting to resolve any problems, but if this is not successful the relationship may be ended. Mentor and mentee may be matched to another mentor/mentee.
However, everything is done in advance to ensure that the interests, skills and personality of the mentor and mentee are matched. Mentee’s are equally asked to apply and are interviewed to ensure they are fully committed to the programme.
How can I apply to be a mentor?
The application form and reflective questionnaire is available from the YMCA at 8, West Beach, Cobh or online through www.ymca-cobh.org . You can request one by contacting us at 021 4814060 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You should also be aware that following the completion of an application form and questionnaire, YMCA and Child Protection policy dictates that we will need to check your three references and you will be asked to complete a Garda Vetting form. The latter can take 16 weeks to be returned to us and participation in the programme is subject to this.
Cobh YMCA Mentoring Programme is supported by SECAD