Luke is a Year 11 student at a local school which has a longstanding partnership with IntoUniversity Lambeth. Luke has benefitted from IntoUniversity’s mentoring scheme and has been working with Jack, his mentor, a History undergraduate from King’s College London for over a year. We recently caught up with the pair to talk about what they have achieved so far and their hopes for the future.
Luke came across IntoUniversity after his History teacher suggested that he should get involved with our University Mentoring scheme. Luke was keen to get extra support with his school work and to develop his social skills. ‘I used to be a very shy person and kept things to myself but since coming to IntoUniversity and with the support that my mentor, Jack, has given me I have come out of my shell.’
Currently, Luke is working towards his GCSE exams this summer and his favourite subjects include Biology and Chemistry: ‘I especially like the experiments, such as the dissection of a heart, which we have done in school.’ Coming along to the centre has helped Luke to visualise a future career in the field, ‘I want to study Medicine and work with children and teenagers because I feel they need the most support.’
Luke’s mentor, Jack, discovered IntoUniversity through his university, King’s College London. King’s has worked closely with IntoUniversity Lambeth since it launched in 2007 and the centre’s 10-year anniversary celebration also marked the launch of their official sponsorship of the centre. When asked why he volunteers as a mentor, Jack spoke of his passion for social mobility. ‘The support IntoUniversity provides to young people by directly challenging the cycle of poverty and deprivation is something I really feel would have benefitted me when I was at school.’
As Luke’s exams approach, the support he has received from Jack has been crucial. ‘Since working with Jack, my History grade has improved dramatically. I’ve even been able to get a head start on the next topic we’ll be covering in school — all thanks to Jack!’ Having one-to-one support from Jack has also helped Luke to explore the type of learner he is. ‘We recently discovered that Luke is an auditory learner,’ says Jack, ‘so we’ve changed the way we learn and I’ve been introducing Luke to podcasts and YouTube videos.’ It’s not long before Luke interjects with, ‘since we’ve done that my grades have improved in almost every subject!’
For Jack, his best memory of working with Luke so far has been seeing the direct impact that his support has had, particularly concerning his handwriting. ‘It was at times not legible and I know you can get the worst marks just because the examiners can’t read it. So we emailed the school and they made him sit a test to check if he needs extra support and he did. Luke now has a scribe for every exam which is great!’
For Luke, the biggest impact of having Jack as a mentor has been the improvement in his social skills. ‘I can be more of a leader now which is being reflected in my school work and my active participation in school. For example, I support the younger students at school and I’m also a Prefect! Having Jack as a role model has helped me to see how you should deal with younger students.’ Jack has also enjoyed seeing Luke progress. ‘If you met Luke this time last year he was a different person — he was very shy and it was hard to break that down at first. But now he is much more confident and knows what he wants in life. His body language has improved and he is able to hold conversations for a longer period of time. I see him talking to his peers in the centre and he is so much more confident.’
The pair have recently had some good news about Luke’s sixth form applications and are eager to talk about it. ‘We went through the entire application process together and were really happy when Luke was invited for an interview at the top school of his choice,’ Jack says. Luke himself is keen to talk about his excitement, ‘I was elated when I found out I got in! Any issue I had, I felt like I could go to Jack or anybody at IntoUniversity and I knew they would listen and try to sort it out.’
Luke and Jack will continue their mentoring relationship into the summer and will be invited to IntoUniversity’s Mentoring Graduation Ceremony at University College London with students from across IntoUniversity’s network of centres. IntoUniversity Lambeth staff have enjoyed seeing the mentoring pair excel and George Linfield, Senior Cross-Centre Programme Coordinator and Volunteer Officer at the centre, recently said, ‘we’re all really proud of the progress that both Luke and Jack have made on the mentoring scheme so far. Luke is as ambitious a mentee as Jack is dedicated a mentor; I think that’s a perfect mentoring combination!’
If you would like to be invited to one of IntoUniversity’s Graduation Ceremonies, please contact Vicky at email@example.com.