Josh is 19 and is currently studying for his A-Levels. He has been going to Crown and Manor since he was nine years old – a youth club with a proud history of providing a safe haven for boys and young men for over 100 years. Outside of his studies, Josh now volunteers at the club, teaching maths to a group of young people aged between 8 and 14.
Crown and Manor is a member of sporteducate and as part of the programme, Josh has been receiving personal mentoring from Deutsche Bank staff volunteer James Collins.
Why did you start going to Crown and Manor?
“I really started going to Crown and Manor because I wanted to play football and I knew they had a club there, so that’s what really got me involved. I liked the club because it’s a place to go with your mates. At that age there’s not really much to do, so I’d always go Crown and Manor. They had Pool, table tennis and yard out the back to play football.
Because it is a youth club, they do all sorts of activities, like activity weekends away, so I started getting more involved. When I was about 16 I started volunteering as a junior worker and helping out where I could. From that they sent me on various courses, such as the FA Level 1, to build up a good block of qualifications, so that by the time I started to apply for jobs it would look good.”
At Crown and Manor young people have to do an academic class in order to take part in the sporting activities, how did that help you?
“At the time I was doing Spanish in Years 7, 8 and 9. Because learning a second language is hard, the extra hour or two a week definitely helped.”
You are now a volunteer teacher at the club yourself, how do you see the supplementary classes benefitting the young people you teach?
“I’ve had good feedback about boys progressing by coming to the class. Their schools have said they’ve seen improvements in the boys’ work. As the teacher I was quite proud of myself because I’ve had no previous teaching experience, but I know the subject well. To hear that it is working and the boys are progressing in school, well, that was a proud moment for me.”
How do the classes at Crown and Manor differ to those at school?
“It’s external to school and they come to a youth club, so they are more comfortable when I’m teaching. As a youth worker I’m also their friend, so I can relate to them better and they trust me more than their teachers. At school, it is very strict and there are a lot of rules. At Crown and Manor we have rules, but it’s more of a relaxed environment. The boys enjoy it more than they do at school, because they are there with their friends. They are there because they want to be there, not because someone is forcing them. The respect is already established so they will listen to me and do the work that I set.”
You are currently being mentored by Deutsche Bank staff volunteer James Collins. How has he personally helped you?
“I’m in my second year of A-Levels so I have recently been applying to universities. When I got offers back from different universities I was stuck because I didn’t know which ones to pick. It wasn’t as straight forward as I thought it would be; I got counter-offers, there was some courses I wanted to do more than others, but there were certain universities I wanted to go to. He helped me narrow it down, so I found that really helpful.
I spoke to James for his advice and he didn’t just give me his point of view, he went away and spoke with other people at Deutsche Bank in order to get it from an employer’s perspective. I honestly don’t know whether I would have been able to make the same Uni choices if it wasn’t for James.”
You hope to start a career in banking after you finish university, how has having James as a mentor helped in this respect?
“At the beginning I didn’t really have an idea on what investment banking was. So James has been setting up meetings for me to meet with different traders; he even organised a walk around the trading floor. That gave me the chance to sit down, get to know them and ask them about their jobs. Now I have more of an idea what I want to do.
I went in there with an open mind because I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, so I didn’t want to be close-minded. He showed me how wide the industry is, how the jobs vary and how many opportunities there are in banking. It is so broad – that is what he’s trying to show me at the moment.
I don’t find it hard to speak to James. He’s open to all my suggestions. Every time I meet up with him he asks ‘What do you want to do now?’ When he is in London, I try to meet up with him for an hour. If not, I will email him and speak to him on the phone if it’s something urgent.”
Why are mentoring schemes, included in programmes such as sporteducate, so important?
“These types of mentoring scheme are really helpful because it’s not all about banking and career advice. The mentors also help you with anything in your day-to-day life, so it helps you out as a person as well.”
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