Over the next five years Bristol Together expects that up to 200 ex-offenders, and other long-term unemployed people, will work full-time on one of our projects. Here are two of our most recent case-studies.

Here at Bristol Together, we are more than just an employer, and we do more than create jobs. Our aim is to see those who have been socially excluded achieve their full potential, and to support them in working towards their career aspirations as best we can.

To offer this support in a more structured and regular way, Bristol Together are now in the process of  developing a specific mentoring element of our initiative. Eventually we hope that our employees will not only have mentoring and support from their project managers whilst on the job, but also a personal mentor they can work with outside of work, if they would like one.

We believe that supporting our employees through a mentoring relationship can really make the difference in seeing them make the next step towards achieving their aspirations.

What is mentoring?

For us, mentoring is a relationship which inspires, empowers and guides another in achieving their personal and career potential during times of change. A mentor is not a careers advisor, or a life coach, and in fact we train our mentors to steer clear of offering ‘advice’. Instead, a mentor’s job is to create an environment where an individual can take responsibility for their own lives, but are encouraged, challenged and held accountable to personal targets that are set.

Mentees are given the space discover new things about themselves through open discussion whilst a mentor is able to assist them in ‘thinking outside the box’ by presenting a variety of options and asking questions that help form next steps and actions.

Our Mentoring Programme

We are currently in the process of developing a mentoring programme which will train those who wish to volunteer their time to mentor a Bristol Together employee outside of the work place. The mentoring programme will take place over one year.

Phase 1: The Mentors Retreat – Prospective mentors embark on a training course in a ‘retreat’ like environment where they are fully prepared for their role as a mentor

Phase 2: Practice makes perfect – Mentors will gain experience in mentoring others, before working with Bristol Together employees

Phase 3: The Match – mentors and mentees will take part in an ‘accelerated relationship building session’ where chemistry can be tested between various partners. At the end of this session, each mentee will be matched with a mentor.

Phase 4: Moving Forward – the mentor and employee will begin to build a relationship within a structured framework, where mentees will support employees in creating a personal development plan.

We hope that supporting our employees in this way will help see them challenge themselves to continue developing and will ensure that Bristol Together will become only the first step seeing them secure a successful and fulfilling future.