A learning mentor has a wide-ranging role, mainly focused on providing guidance to students at school or college who face barriers to learning. These barriers might range from a lack of study skills or personal organisation, to complex social and welfare issues. The work may include, for example:
• devising an attendance agreement with a regular truant
Most of the work is with individual students, but some may be with
small groups. Learning mentors mainly work in schools and colleges,
but may meet students at their homes or other locations. They often
work in areas of social deprivation or low educational achievement.
• have a genuine concern for the welfare of young people
There are no formal academic requirements to become a learning mentor. However, entry requirements vary from area to area. Most authorities ask for qualifications such as GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English and maths. Many ask for qualifications above this level, including related vocational qualifications or those at Level 4/degree level. Successful candidates have to undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks.
Some schools have volunteer mentoring schemes, which provide excellent experience for people wishing to enter the work. Learning mentors have usually worked in other related fields, such as social work, counselling, teaching or youth welfare.
Once in post, learning mentors take part in a five-day national training
programme provided by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES),
leading to a certificate in mentoring.