At Notre Dame we’ve recently launched a mentoring programme for our level two students. These students enrol with us to re-take GCSE English or Maths alongside other level 2 qualifications, enabling them to progress onto level 3 study after a year.
The mentoring programme is a collaborate project organised and run by our NCOP HE Progression Officer and Work Experience Coordinator. NCOP (the National Collaborative Outreach Programme) and Go Higher West Yorkshire are working with Notre Dame to encourage and support progression onto Higher Education. The aim of this mentoring programme is to raise the aspirations of level two students through a combination of workshops, work experience, and visits to further and higher education providers, all supported by positive role models from targeted local organisations who will act as mentors.
The programme launched on Thursday 13 December with a visit to the University Centre at Leeds City College. On arrival, our students took part in a workshop with guest mentors: Notre Dame alumna Catherine Bardsley, who is the co-founder of Cloudtrainer, and University of Leeds Senior Student Ambassador Tom Smith. The workshop focused on a discussion about our students’ values, motivations and potential career paths. This was followed by a graphic design and illustration session, exploring the concept of identity. Our students considered their own personal branding, examining the factors that make them who they are before creating individual logos. During the final part of the morning, our students were given an overview of the higher education courses on offer at the University Centre, and the progression routes from them. They also had the opportunity to meet three students currently studying there.
After a short lunchbreak, our students were set a competitive challenge, working in small groups to consider the branding of Notre Dame and what the college means to them. With the support of staff and mentors, and utilising their learning from earlier in the day, they redesigned the college logo to create a new Notre Dame brand. The day ended with each group of students presenting their ideas.
Our students engaged with all the activities, which were enjoyed by everyone, including staff and mentors.
Notre Dame alumna Catherine Bardsley said: ‘I was very impressed with the group as a whole: how they listened and interacted with one another and everyone who came in to speak and work with them throughout the day. I thought the ideas, creativity, teamwork and support that was shown, throughout the day but particularly in the last session, was great.’
Current student Cristian added: ‘I enjoyed giving the presentation the most even though I am never confident talking around people.’
All in all, this was an excellent start to what promises to be a highly beneficial and varied programme, another string to Notre Dame’s bow when it comes to the excellent pastoral and careers support we provide for our students.