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The Catalyst Collective Open Access Mentoring Programme


Since the first Catalyst pilot cohort in January 2021, we have been learning, growing, and working towards our ambition of making high quality mentoring with representative role models accessible to Black girls who will benefit from them.

This year, we launched our first open access mentoring programme pilot. For the first time, Black female students in Year 12 at schools across the UK can apply to join our upcoming mentoring cohort. 

Students selected for the programme are matched with a professional Black woman mentor to support them between January and July. The programme aims:

  • To make high quality mentoring pair matches

  • To support these mentees over an 8-month period to make progress towards their future career goals

  • To connect Black teenage girls with accessible and relatable role models

  • To connect Black teenage girls with targeted information, advice and guidance towards their future goals

How does the programme work?

Mentees will be selected and onboarded in December, then matched with their mentors in January. As with our schools’ programme, mentoring pairs will be matched based on careers and aspirations, personality and interests.

Mentoring pairs will meet at least monthly online, have access to mentor coordinator support and group trips and meetings. The programme will conclude with an end of year mentoring celebration in July with the wider Catalyst network.

Can I/my daughter sign up for the programme?

Mentees must be:

  • Black teenage girls (of Black Caribbean, Black African, Black Other or Black Mixed heritage)

  • Not attending a current Catalyst partner school

  • Able to commit to the programme for its duration, and attend a celebration event in London

In addition, the programme is designed to support mentees who would be less likely to otherwise access mentoring and support from a role model. At application and interview, mentees will be asked about their motivations, how they will benefit from the programme and any other supporting information.

How will I/my daughter be kept safe on the programme?

At the Catalyst, the safety of our young people is the highest priority for the programme. There are a range of measures put in place to prioritise the safety of all mentees on the programme:

  • All mentors are subject to an enhanced DBS and reference checks

  • All mentees and mentors undergo safeguarding training

  • All mentees will have a monthly debrief with their mentoring coordinator

  • All Catalyst staff have an enhanced DBS check and are safeguarding trained.

  • Parents/guardians must attend a parent briefing before the programme commences to ensure they understand the requirements of the programme

  • Mentoring pairs communication primarily takes place through MentorCity, our mentoring platform. All Catalyst staff have access to messages between mentoring pairs, which can be used for monitoring purposes.​

Can I still apply for a mentor?

We've recently closed applications for our pilot programme, which is now underway. When we re-open the Open Access Mentoring Scheme, we will confirm the eligible year group and criteria. To express interest in future cohorts that you may be eligible for, please complete this form and we'll be in touch if any suitable opportunities arise.

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