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Before you register please make sure you have read the following information


1. What is Mentoring?

Mentoring can be described as a ‘professional friendship’. A mentor is someone who guides, encourages, motivates, teaches and inspires. One official definition is this: Mentoring is a one-to-one, non-judgemental relationship in which an individual mentor voluntarily gives time to support and encourage another. This relationship is typically developed at a time of transition in the mentee’s life, and lasts for a significant and sustained period.” (Home Office) Mentoring is based on mutual trust and respect. It is not a one sided relationship but one of reciprocity, providing both mentee and mentor with the opportunity to learn new things and to further their own personal development.

Mentoring on Time Together is a unique experience. Some of the relationships mentors forge with their mentees are very informal, with mentors taking on a befriending role, visiting museums, chatting over coffee and helping their mentee feel less isolated. Other relationships are more formal and structured, with mentors offering professional support and assistance with specific goals, such as finding a job or requalifying. Most relationships are a mixture of these: mentors and mentees combine a befriending approach with a focus on specific goals the mentee wants to achieve, often with regard to language or employment. ‘Something which I didn’t expect to happen as a result of the mentoring scheme was that I would myself find a better job doing more work with community projects. I’m getting more and more out of Time Together and it’s great being able to do something positive for people looking for protection in our country.’ a mentor on Time Together

2. What will be expected from mentors?

Mentors don’t have to be professional counsellors, advisors or experts on immigration or asylum issues; they just need to be resourceful and to empower their mentee to make positive changes in their life in order to achieve fuller integration. Mentors must be committed and reliable, have an open mind and good communication skills. They should be able to commit around five hours a month for a year, to helping and supporting their mentees. ‘Just chatting about slang terms and expressions has helped a great deal. I hadn’t thought that explaining what ‘take it easy’, ‘quid’ and ‘innit’ would be one of the valuable things I could offer! I also think that just being there to listen to my mentee has been helpful. It’s worth it to see the smile I get when I say cheerio at the end of our chats.’ A mentor on Time Together. Mentors come from all walks of life and range in age from 18 to 65 and over. As Time Together aims to break down barriers between communities and promote refugees within the host community, mentors should be British Citizens but don’t necessarily have to be. They should speak fluent or native English and have lived and worked or studied in the UK long enough to have a thorough understanding of the culture, customs, job market, public services and systems. Most of the mentees on the Time Together scheme are trying to improve their English and find a job and for this reason they are looking for mentors who have an excellent knowledge of English and British culture and experience of working .

3. What training and support will mentors and mentees receive?

Mentors receive continual training and support throughout the course of their mentoring relationships. After initial mentor training which covers all aspects of mentoring and refugee issues, mentors are matched with a mentee. Once matched, there are frequent opportunities to get together with other mentors and mentees, in order to discuss and share experiences. There is also the opportunity to become part of an ever-expanding interactive mentoring network where mentors can give and gain advice from other mentors. Mentees receive an induction to the scheme which seeks to manage their expectations and explain the aims and objectives of the project. The induction also covers issues such as boundaries and action planning. The Time Together staff, in particular the local Co-ordinators, support and guide mentors and mentees throughout their mentoring relationships.

4. Who are the mentees?

The mentees on the scheme come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Many refugees who come to the UK, are professionals; lawyers, doctors, accountants and teachers, whilst some are keen to finish high school or continue their education.

  • Speak English well enough to be able to conduct a conversation (if not, they should be told they can re-apply at a later date).
  • Have Refugee Status (either Indefinite Leave to Remain, Exceptional Leave to Remain, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave)

Fully understand the aims and objectives of the project.

The length of time the mentees will have been in the UK will range from 6 months to 10 years. Accordingly needs differ in each relationship. Those mentees who have been resident in the UK for a significant length of time may have different objectives to those who have been here for less time.

5. How do you match mentors and mentees?

TimeBank have developed a careful system of matching based on a number of key criteria including age, sex, proximity and interests. Mentors and mentees are actively involved in selecting their match and are given the opportunity to discuss the match with the Co-ordinator. Usually mentors and mentees will have the chance to meet each other in a group setting prior to actually being matched. Because Time Together works hard at ensuring that matches are successful sometimes mentors and mentees may be asked to wait until a suitable match can be made. TimeBank aims to match mentors with a mentee as soon as possible after the mentors have completed training. Once a suitable match is made, mentors will be informed by email or telephone and given the details of the refugee they have been matched with. Mentors will then need to make contact with their mentee to arrange a first meeting. Mentees will also be informed of who their mentor is.

6. What kind of things do mentors and mentees do together?

Mentors on the project have done a variety of things with their mentees including visiting museums and art galleries, playing football together, writing a cv or looking for jobs, going out for dinner or on a picnic. ‘My mentor and I have so much fun together. We visit places I have never been to before, like museums and galleries. I have lived in London for a year but had never visited Trafalgar Square or Buckingham Palace.’ Fitsum, refugee from Eritrea Time Together is not prescriptive and doesn’t tell pairs what to do, however, we offer plenty of suggestions and advice to help pairs to set and achieve their goals.