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Mentoring for new employees

AlonsonYou are automatically enrolled into St Christopher’s Academy when you join our charity. For people joining at the start of their careers, you’ll be on the Entry Pathway and receive specialist support to help you learn the job.

Alonso signed up to receive mentoring from an experienced St Christopher’s colleague, so that he had an extra source of help and advice in his first year on the job.

Why did you want to work at St Christopher’s?

When I moved to the UK, I wanted to work in a job that related to what I studied in Spain – social pedagogy. I saw some positions advertised – I thought, ‘It’s with young people, near to where I live and I think I could be great.’ It’s been six months since I started and I love it.

Did you have any experience before joining?

On top of my university degree, I have worked with kids, young people, disabled people and elderly people, so I have a mix of social care experience. I have done some volunteering with various associations and NGOs such as the Spanish Red Cross and with people in prison. I also worked for a company doing adventure trips with young people, looking after them while we were away.

St Christopher’s offers mentoring to new staff. Why did you want a mentor?

St Christopher’s has a dedicated Residential Entry Pathway Co-ordinator, who helps new employees settle in during their first year. I shared with them that I found some difficulties to understand one of the forms we do for young people, so they suggested a mentor might help me learn and build my confidence. I was happy when mentoring was offered – we all need to help each other as a team.

What happens in your mentoring sessions?

My mentor and I decide the dates between us and meet up online or in-person, or sometimes at different St Christopher’s services so that I can learn from other teams. I never thought about how other homes might be set up. It’s good to understand differences, then staff can share knowledge together like one big team.

He has shown me things point by point so that I understand and has explained different ways I could do things. Like he suggested creating wellbeing and safety plans with young people, not just about them, so we talked about how to help them participate. I know how to do these now to make sure everyone is safe.

How has having a mentor made a difference?

When you have a need, it’s good to share that you need some support. If I didn’t have all the advice from my mentor, I think I would feel more nervous at work. With my mentor, my team and colleagues, I get so many ideas and different perspectives, and now I feel more comfortable.

Would you recommend having a to other people mentor when they join at St Christopher’s?

Of course! If you feel that you’re not comfortable doing something or don’t know how to do it, it makes you become stressed – but it can be fixed! Mentoring was really helpful ensuring I am confident and know how to act, especially in moments when you have to take the lead or make decisions quickly to keep people safe and happy.

It’s also such a great experience because you start to meet more people and learn about the rest of St Christopher’s, not just the service you work in.

What other development opportunities have you had?

Introductory training, including on social pedagogy. The workshops and games open your mind and provide a different way to learn. Everyone tries to make the training sessions fun.

Where do you see yourself going in your career?

At the moment, I see myself making sure that all the young people grow and have a great future. You never know about the future but I want to keep learning and enjoy what I am doing. For now, I just want to concentrate on working with young people.

Thank you to Alonso for sharing your experience! View our vacancies to launch your children’s social care career with St Christopher’s.