Each month we are planning to introduce the wonderful mentors that support the Big Ideas programme, in a feature we are calling ‘Meet the Mentor’. The programme and the students on it simply would not be the same if we didn’t have this mentor support from our business partners, and the mentors themselves get an awful lot out of it too. Find out more about the range of interesting and diverse mentors we work with on our Meet the Mentors page on the website!
Allow me to introduce a super mentor from Tarmac BP, who mentors in our West Midlands region – Tracey Foster.
Name: Tracey Foster
Position: Sales Fulfilment Advisor – Blocks Team, Tarmac Building Products Limited
· When did you join the S4TP programme? November 2016
· Why did you get involved in the programme?
The concept of helping young people develop new skills while at the same time contributing to my own personal development was what made me get involved. The fact their ideas may help with social or environmental issues was also very appealing.
· Which schools have you worked with?
Moseley Park School, The King’s C of E School, Colton Hills Community School
· How have the students that you worked with developed / what have they learnt?
They have learnt how to work as a team. They know how to develop their business idea into a business plan as well as how to present the idea to the business community.
· What has been the best part about the programme?
I think it is watching the development of the young people. The way they grow in confidence and begin to believe in their idea. Also, the creativity you find in the most unexpected places.
· What have you learnt through participating?
Never underestimate young people, give them a chance to express themselves. Some of the ideas have been truly amazing! On a personal level, I have improved my communication skills and increased my knowledge of issues the planet is facing.
· What has been the most challenging part about participating in the programme?
For me, the most challenging part was not telling the team what to do, but asking the right questions so they can figure it out for themselves.
· How would you describe Solutions for the Planet and the Big Ideas programme to others?
Solutions for the Planet is a social enterprise that delivers an educational programme to secondary schools and businesses. It encourages young people to develop new skills whilst inspiring them to find solutions to social and environmental issues.
· What would you say to others considering participating in the programme?
It is good for personal development as you learn leadership skills along the way. I have also gained satisfaction from helping others by passing on my experience and encouraging them to carry on with their ideas.
· Has participating in the programme met your expectations?
It has met my expectations to the point I have signed up for another year!
· Is there anything else you would like to add?
I was so proud of the young people who presented their ideas at the finals last year, the way they had progressed through the competition and the new skills they had developed was clear to see. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. The team from Solutions for the Planet are very friendly and approachable and I thank them for their continued support.
We are proud and grateful to have you on board Tracey – thank you for all your help!
Answers written by: Tracey Foster, Sales Fulfilment Advisor – Blocks Team, Tarmac Building Products Limited
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd.