Jenny Pelling, Apprenticeship Partnerships Director at Kaplan Financial, has been volunteering for two years as a mentor and masterclass presenter. Here, she shares why she volunteers and the impact it has on her and her work.

Mentoring a young person is very fulfilling. Working with my mentee helps me tune into the concerns and challenges they are facing and that’s certainly beneficial at work. Having the perspective of my mentee in mind broadens my thinking and frame of reference. 

I do other volunteering work, but Career Ready is different because of the extended contact with one individual. Sometimes volunteering work can feel like it’s part of a very large whole, and you don’t always see first-hand what impact your time has had. But with Career Ready – you can tell each month how someone has grown in confidence, so it feels more immediate and more personal.

The continuity of the year-long relationship has led me to understand more about the questions my mentee is grappling with about the next stage of her life and her perception of the workplace and job applications.

Each session, I get to know my mentee a little better. I can tell how much she has developed for example in the way she now fluently answers mock interview questions; and how she has moved from being quite diffident in her responses, not truly demonstrating how capable and impressive she is, to responding with self-assurance; confidence and examples. It gives me a sense of pride in what she’s achieving. And it feels like my career means something a little more because I’m able to share my experiences and help someone who’s about to start out in the world of work.

Kaplan are very supportive and allow staff to take two days a year to volunteer, so I could have done this in work time. That said, my role is pretty busy so my mentee and I speak at the end of the day. There are also other Career Ready mentors across Kaplan which means there’s a network of people to share ideas with and work together on some of the masterclasses. 

I started volunteering for Career Ready to help a young person fulfil their potential and now, two years in, not only am I witnessing that impact, but it’s also enriching my own sense of purpose.

Discover how you can make a difference to a young person’s life as a volunteer.