The ethos, ‘We inspire young people and adults to find their purpose and reach their potential.’ initially convinced me to get in touch with Inspira and request further details about their Employer Mentoring programme. Following my initial enquiry, Vicky Ritson, Employer Engagement Assistant with Inspira, took the time to visit me at our office and quickly got me engaged and fully on board.

It was in May 2017 that I visited the Inspira, Carlisle office along with many other mentors who had signed up as part of an informal group introduction to the programme. The introductory session provided us with some helpful hints and tips to develop our mentoring relationship, as well as providing safeguarding guidelines and the rules of engagement that we would all need to adopt and follow. We also received our Mentoring Handbook, an extremely useful resource, along with a suggested timetable for our first meetings with our mentees.

Something that sticks in my mind from this meeting was a point made by David and Vicky of Inspira, ‘research tells us that exposure to employers and understanding the world of work has a positive effect on young people. It helps to raise their aspirations and encourages them to make positive life and career choices, making them less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training).’ Hearing this I was certain I had made the right decision to be an employer mentor and was inspired to support the next generation.

Going back to my school days, I was always undecided and slightly overwhelmed by the world of work and my prospects for the future. I went down the university route to delay the need to make a concrete decision about my future, while keeping my options open. After all, a degree of any sort guarantees you your dream job … right?

I felt my own life experiences had given me a good grounding to be a mentor and advise my mentee’s that university is not the only path available to them. You can equally secure that dream job by working hard and most importantly by choosing the correct path for you.

In July 2017 all the mentors visited Richard Rose Morton Academy for an ice-breaker session with the 23 mentees signed on to the programme. It was a great opportunity to get a tour of the school and ensure all those involved were comfortable before the one-on-one sessions began in September.

I am proud to help bridge the gap between the world of education and employment through employer mentoring and have enjoyed every session so far to this present day. I look forward to helping my mentees through the upcoming GCSE examinations and would like to take this opportunity to wish them every success for the future. They are all capable of amazing things, regardless of the path each one takes following their school education.

David Allen as a business has always made a commitment to recruiting through apprenticeships, allowing individuals an opportunity to work their way up the ladder while gaining valuable qualifications. David truly believes that employers need to recognise the role they play in supporting economic growth and in recruiting apprentices we build skilled labour for the future.