News Archive

CYWU – the Mentors’ Mentor

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Mentors desperately need a professional trade union voice and protection.
CYWU is pleased to have provided this home for the first groups of mentors to get properly organised.

Mentoring, especially learning mentoring is hear to stay. It has become very a quickly an essential part of education within schools and within the justice system. It works in business as well of course, but our prime concerns as a union are for the quality of mentoring support given to young people in schools and young offenders and adult prisoners in prison.

The suddenness and excitement of mentoring’s impact and increased funding means that certain key elements of professional development have not caught up with it. There is no national collective bargaining. There is no clear framework of qualification. There is no consistent funding stream. There is no professional endorsement body to oversee workforce development and labour market planning. CYWU is committed to ensuring that these necessary structures are established. What we do have through the National Mentoring Network is the development of a respected support agency.

The lack of major components of professional development, means that highly skilled mentors are vulnerable to the misunderstandings and mish mash of low terms and conditions that employers provide. There is no consistency to practice around the country and from school to school. Head teachers are very often the managers of learning mentors and have failed to appreciate either the role of the professional status required. CYWU’s casework for mentor members has revealed some horrific working environments and lack of respect from managers and employers disproportionate to the value of the contribution mentors make.

CYWU is committed to bringing consistency of employment practice and higher terms and conditions linked to national collective bargaining.

A number of regional conferences for mentors in 2002 should take this work forward and we are hoping that mentors Branches will bring to Conference through motions some of the essential needs of the sector.

Trade unions are friends and supports of their members. We advocate and cherish our friends. CYWU is the mentors’ mentor. We welcome all mentoring co ordinators and mentors, volunteer and paid, into membership of the union. We aim to support you and to learn from your experience and to improve your professional status and terms and conditions employment.

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