Edward Keelan, from Octopus Investments, is our 2020 Standard Life Aberdeen Mentor of the Year for the South of England. Here, Edward shares his volunteering experience and the difference it’s made to his life and that of his mentee Juwon.

I became a mentor because I was keen to use my experiences to help a young person reach their full potential. I believe that we will only achieve true social mobility when we actively even up the playing field for all students and was keen to help make this happen by supporting and volunteering with Career Ready.

I believe it’s important for young people to have the opportunity to meet someone from the professional world that can show them what is possible and encourage them to apply their talents in areas that they perhaps didn’t know were available to them. A mentor can be a sounding board that doesn’t pass judgment and can answer the difficult or awkward questions honestly. It’s also important to offer practical skills advice such as interview technique and CV writing and show your mentee what it means to be in a professional environment and how best they can conduct themselves.

Being a mentor has definitely helped me in my career. It’s helped me to better understand the issues that young people face and the options that are open to them that were not available when I was starting out. It’s also helped me to improve my listening skills and to accept that I don’t always have the answer!

Edward went above and beyond for me and I really appreciated it. He has advised me in a way that neither my parents or friends could. I would like to thank Edward for being such a brilliant support system during this difficult year.

Juwon Davies, City of London Academy Southwark, Leidos UK Student of the Year for the South of England 2020.

The most rewarding moment for me was finding out that my mentee had won a place on the UBS apprenticeship programme. She’d worked so hard and applied for many positions and it turned out to be the best opportunity out of all of them!

To anyone thinking about becoming a mentor I would say go for it – it will be a life changing experience! Open your mind, be prepared to listen and don’t believe you have all the answers.

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