Preparing to mentor

Everything volunteers and employers need to know ahead of mentoring. 

Thank you for applying


Thank you for applying to become a Career Ready mentor. As a volunteer mentor, you have the power to transform a young person’s life through monthly meetings, providing them with the confidence and guidance they need to kickstart their future.

Starting in January, each monthly mentoring meeting lasts an hour and focuses on a different aspect of a student’s career and education journey. Together, you’ll speak about different career options & pathways, helping them to understand more about the world of work and the skills they’ll need to kickstart a rewarding future.

We aim to support each volunteer through their application process and their experience with us, including:

  • Support through the application and DBS process
  • Mentor training and briefing calls
  • Monthly emails with guidance
  • Ongoing support and development opportunities

If you require any support then please contact and a member of our team will get back to you.

Throughout August and September we will run a series of weekly sessions where you can find out more about mentoring.

Invest in young talent with Career Ready – all about mentoring

Thu 11 August, 4.00 pm - Thu 27 October, 5.00 pm

How mentoring works

Three step process for getting involved

Mentoring Timeline

Useful resources 

If you require any support then please contact and a member of our team will get back to you. 



Completing your mentor application is the first step in becoming a mentor. We will review your application and match you to a student depending on local needs and compatibility. 

Students and volunteers are asked to answers questions during their application to the programme. We use your location, interests and areas of professional knowledge to match you with a student. 

We do our best to match you where you have specified but this is not always possible. We prioritise our matches based on the address you have provided to ensure you and your mentee are in reasonable reach of one another.

All our mentor relationships are started with an icebreaker event in January/February, where mentor and mentee meet for the first time. It is usually held at the mentee’s school/college, which is a familiar environment and should allow them to feel more comfortable. The icebreaker will normally consist of a meet and greet, a few activities and some time to get to know your mentee. This is also a good time to swap contact details to schedule your second session.

We strongly encourage you to hold mentoring sessions at your place of work as this gives your mentee the chance to visit a professional environment as well as saving you travel time. If this is not possible, please ensure you either meet at the school/college or in a public place such as a coffee shop. You should never be on your own with the student.

You can also arrange to meet virtually with your student however face to face meetings do help to gel the relationship so we recommend keeping virtual meetings to a minimum.

On occasion there may be a group mentoring session at the school/college which will be organised in advance – the school/college coordinator will inform you of this.

You will be provided with a digital copy of the mentor handbook before your icebreaker. Your mentee will have a copy of their own. Each session has an agenda with clear learning objectives to guide you through.

In time, your mentee may come to you with their own agendas which should absolutely be prioritised. It is likely that their own agenda will mirror the handbook.

The mentor relationship doesn’t happen overnight so please try your best to be patient. The experience can be quite daunting for the student so allow them time to get comfortable. You are their sounding board, guide and critical friend and the relationship requires trust. If you still find that after a few meetings the student is disengaged please reach out to the school coordinator who will be able to chat with the student.

At the start of your mentoring relationship we advise you to obtain exam dates from students as it’s likely they will be very busy over certain periods of the year.

We take safeguarding very seriously and it is your duty as a responsible adult to report anything suspicious. Contact our national office at as soon as possible.


DBS Process

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the new name for what was called a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

‘The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.’ 

We require all Career Ready mentors to be DBS checked before we can assign them to a student. We undertake an enhanced check which also includes any information the police consider relevant.

Safeguarding of the student and volunteer is of the utmost importance to us and under no circumstances will a volunteer be matched to a student unless they have a valid DBS Certificate.



We will only accept DBS certificates that are issued via Career Ready unless the person has already signed up to the DBS Update Service. Once a person has signed up to this service they need not complete another DBS Check. A volunteer can only register for the DBS Update Service once they have received their certificate. You can register for the update service using your DBS certificate number. You must do this within 30 days of the certificate being issued and as a volunteer there should be no charge to register with the update service.

We recommend that you register for the update service as your DBS then does become ‘portable’ between organisations.

You must provide three pieces of identification to complete your application. You will need to possess at least one group 1 document (such as birth certificate, driving license or passport) and the remainder from group 2 (such as bank statement, council tax statement, utility bill, etc.). All group 2 documents must be from within the time frame specific to those documents.

Once you have input your personal details and identification document information into the online application you will need to print out a copy of the confirmation page.

You must then go to a post office with a printout of the confirmation page and your original identification documents to be verified.

Not all post offices offer the verification service. To view the post offices that offer this service you can click here and go to ‘application help’. You can also search for a post office on their website and choose ‘CRB & ID Verification Service’ from the drop down options.

If you do not go to the Post Office within 19 days of submitting your application, it will expire and you will be required to complete another application.

Once your documents have been verified at the Post Office it usually takes from a week to a month to receive your clearance. Past indiscretions are not an indicator of the time taken. Please note that the DBS can take up to two months (60 days) to go through the complete process.

Once you have been cleared by the DBS you should receive a certificate posted to your home address and Career Ready will receive electronic notification. We do not receive a copy of the certificate.

Once you have received your certificate you then have 30 days to join the DBS update service. You don’t need to join the DBS update service to become a mentor, but we would encourage you to sign up for this free service. You can find more information about the Update Service here.

In some circumstances, DBS clearance can take a bit longer than we expect due to the number of checks being carried out at that time. We advise you to complete your DBS application as soon as possible to avoid missing out on becoming a mentor.

Applying for a DBS through Career Ready is free for volunteers. You will not be asked to pay to apply for the DBS online or to have your documents verified at the Post Office. If you are asked to pay for your DBS to be completed, please contact us.

You will not be able to meet your student one-to-one until you receive your DBS clearance. Where this is likely to impact on the relationship starting, we look at each delay on a case by case basis. It may be possible to meet with your student in the school/college environment if the school/college is agreeable to this.

A member of the Career Ready staff will conract you to let you know what to do. Having something on your certificate does not automatically means that you will not be able to mentor a Career Ready student. We do not share any details on that matter with schools and employers.

Success stories

Mentoring on the Career Ready programme is a wonderful and fulfilling experience because it gives you the opportunity to genuinely make a positive impact on a young person’s life.

Success stories