Thursday 10 November saw the latest business mentor training session to be held at Longfield Academy. The newest cohort of business mentors come from a wide range of industries including hospitality, healthcare, fashion, the charitable sector, the print industry, banking, the legal profession, finance and business consultancy. The common thread in attending for each individual is the wish to help develop our young people.

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Formal business mentoring began at Longfield Academy in 2011 and has been rolled out to become a much valued part of academy life in the majority of our secondary academies. Through the scheme, mentors become an important beneficial influence for selected students in helping them to aspire and achieve.
During the session, ably chaired by Assistant Head Mrs Huq, new mentors were taken through all aspects of the mentoring scheme to set them on their way to this rewarding experience. New mentors appreciated the opportunity to meet each other and previous mentees who were able to explain how they had benefitted from their mentoring sessions as well as suggesting areas and activities that might further add to the experience.

A highlight of the day was a most enjoyable networking lunch at Longfield’s Telescope Bistro which is open to the public on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes. http://longfieldacademy.org/the-bistro/

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The catering students certainly impressed our guests with the quality of both the food and service provided.

Longfield Academy highly values working with local businesses and is pleased to have a longstanding relationship with Brands Hatch Place Hotel and Spa www. handpickedhotels.co.uk/brandshatchplace  with many members of staff having participated as business mentors at the academy. Simon Barker, General Manager, commented “We are delighted to continue and develop our relationship with Longfield Academy. It is beneficial for my team to share their industry knowledge with bright, aspiring students who have a desire to continue their education and it is also a wonderful platform for the hotel to be able to offer placements and long term employment contracts with the students who wish to use hospitality as a first step into the working world.”

New mentor, Linda Garcia of Alluxi Consulting Ltd explains why she chose to become a business mentor:

“Our younger generation are being educated to survive or thrive in a globally competitive, cut throat environment where hands on jobs are fewer, and technology is taking over our lives. Within the bubble of education and home life, and with fewer opportunities for students to get a sense of what life is like in the workplace during their school years, mentoring schemes such as this one provide some dialogue between the student and the outside world. A Business Mentor is neither their parent nor teacher – providing a sounding board and different perspective on their aspirations for the future. Mentoring is a hugely rewarding process for me, as it’s not a one way communication process. Both parties come out of the experience having learned something new about the world, and it keeps me in tune with the potential that’s out there, if we can nurture it!”

Mrs Huq said:

“It is fantastic to have so many experienced and enthusiastic mentors working with us at Longfield this year. Our students are very lucky indeed.”

The last mentor training session to be held for the 2016/7 academic year will take place on 25 November at The Leigh UTC. Any further enquiries on business mentoring at our academies or to attend this session should be sent to Louisa.felstead@latrust.org.uk.