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Time4Me: Enabling change in further education through mentoring

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

Time4Me overview

Situated within Forth Valley College’s Department of Equalities, Inclusion & Learning Services, Time4Me is a mentoring project that provides targeted support to students who are care experienced, caring for others or reside in areas of multiple deprivation. Time4Me acknowledges the additional barriers that young people from such backgrounds face to a successful and sustained education. The aim of mentoring is to improve educational outcomes (and experiences!), with a focus on personal development skills such as communication, resilience, confidence, self-belief and problem-solving. 

Since its inception in 2017, Time4Me has supported 36 students on a one-to-one basis, with many more currently in the process of being matched.

Time4Me mentors are recruited from our existing staff base and, once trained, volunteer an hour a week throughout the academic year to their mentee.

 

The impact of The Robertson Trust’s funding

The further education sector continues to face significant financial challenges. The tightening of budgets and competing demands for resources undoubtedly impacts on what we can do.  Aspirational visions can only become a reality with adequate financial resource.

The funding granted from The Robertson Trust has allowed a project to be developed over two and a half years with a dedicated staff resource, operational budget and invaluable (but often neglected) development, lead-in time. Put simply, Time4Me would not have been possible without it.

The financial stability that funding gives to a project such as this allows it to flourish. Whilst the project continually works to achieve its objectives, the permanence of the funding stream, albeit time-limited, affords greater permission for flexibility, failure and, critically, for learning from failure to affect future operational change for the better.

However, support from the Trust goes much further than the provision of funding. The Trust actively supports the project with invaluable input and guidance to the work of Time4Me. Participation in the bi-annual steering group, the facilitation of networking links to similar projects, evaluation guidance and a welcoming open-door policy, are all activities which serve to foster an excellent working partnership.

 

Looking forward

Time4Me has been successful thus far as a standalone mentoring project and we are delighted to be contributing to the evidence base regarding the efficacy of mentoring.

Moving forward, mentoring will continue to be the central focus of the project. However, our learning to date tells us that in order to make a wider impact and for the success of young people to be consistent and long-lasting, systems need to change.

The knowledge base acquired from the first two years of Time4Me has already contributed to the development of innovative college processes for supporting care experienced students. Looking ahead, Time4Me will continue to use its learning to inform and shape developments in college policy and practices which aim to improve the outcomes and experiences of the wider population of vulnerable students.