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Our Lucky Break Captain of My Ship mentoring programme is helping to change the lives of young people in the Thames Valley. Funded by The Careers & Enterprise Company who today launch their #UnexpectedMentor campaign, it supports 12-15 year olds in school to build resilience, confidence and motivation. Here we describe how one student was empowered to change his attitude and behaviour at school as a result of support from his volunteer mentor.


At the start of the mentoring, Hamza*, a 13-year-old student, was not engaging in many of his lessons, was easily distracted by others and often demonstrated disruptive behaviour in lessons. His tutors knew he had a lot of potential and recommended he join the Captain of My Ship mentoring programme to help raise his aspirations and motivation.

Hamza meets his match

After a speed matching activity with 11 other students and 12 potential mentors Hamza chose Umar as one of the top 3 mentors he most wanted to be matched to. Once matched he and Umar found they got along really well and had a lot in common including cultural background. They commenced having sessions once a week for an hour at school.

As the mentoring sessions progressed Hamza and his mentor began to talk about some of the reasons why he wasn’t focussing in lessons and working as hard as he knew he could. Hamza began to see that he was ‘Captain of his ship’ and that he had the power to make better decisions in the classroom and not be as influenced by his friends, many of whom he started to realise were actually following his example. Hamza was really enjoying having the sessions and attended them punctually which was particularly good as his teachers had mentioned he had poor punctuality to school.

Hamza makes a change

At the fifth mentoring session when asked by his mentor how his week had been, he shared that he had received two phone calls home by his teachers for positive behaviour and work ethic in lessons. Hamza felt really proud of himself. It made him feel good that his parents were so pleased to receive some positive feedback from school about him. Previously he had only ever had phone calls home for poor behaviour.

The power of mentoring

After just five sessions, Hamza is now much more motivated to do well not only because he wants to make his parents proud, but because he has aspirations to become a business man one day! Through mentoring, he now realises how important it is to start developing the skills now that will help him in the future. He is starting to realise his potential!

Hamza and Umar continue to have sessions.

Follow the #UnexpectedMentor campaign on Twitter and Facebook and on the website

See our mentoring opportunities

* names have been changed

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