Each month we are introducing the wonderful mentors that support the Big Ideas programme, in a feature we call ‘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 and community 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 one of our Tarmac mentors from our West Midlands region – Rebecca Stretton
Name: Rebecca Stretton
Position: Sales Advisor, Blocks Division, Tarmac Building Products
· Please describe your role:
My role as a sales advisor is to work alongside other members of the team taking phone calls, processing orders and giving great customer service to all those who approach me for it. I am based in the southern part of the country and have a territory manager and an internal sales advisor who I work most closely with.
· Please describe your route to this role:
My background to this job has nothing to do with the construction industry. I am actually from an education background and have both an undergraduate and a Master’s degree in education. At the moment, this job is a bit of a stop gap before I go back to university to finish my teaching degree, but this job has many aspects that can help me get there. These can include communication skills, team work, time management and taking responsibility for small projects within my working sector.
· What advice do you have for young people interested in either following a similar route to you or in working for your business/sector?
Tarmac is a really good company to work for. They are really supportive and have many opportunities that can help you develop further into your career. If there is a specific sector you want to go into, there are many different ways this can be achieved, whether that is through work experience, mentoring, etc..
· Why did you get involved in S4TP’s Big Ideas programme?
I got involved with Solutions for the Planet as it is my passion to work with children and see their imagination and creativity go outside the box. When I heard about what it was about I jumped at the idea, as I could see this in action.
· What involvement have you had so far?
This will be my second year with the programme and I am really excited to be doing it again this year. Last year I was given the opportunity to attend both the regional finals and the National Final down in London. I was a mentor as one of the local secondary schools and attended numerous Big Ideas Days.
· What has been the best part about participating in the programme?
The best part about participating in the programme was meeting so many intelligent and creative students, especially seeing some of these ideas from the Big Ideas Day at the start of the year and then standing in front of MP’s and judges at the end of the year with such passion in their eyes.
· What has been the most challenging part about participating in the programme?
I guess the most challenging part for me would be having to say goodbye to the children when the year is over. You spend a good amount of time with these groups of children and you really start to build a relationship with them and the teachers. When doing the programme it becomes part of your week when you go to mentoring sessions and when these finish it feels like something is missing for a while.
· What have you learnt, through participating, about yourself, the company and sector you work for, young people, schools and skills development?
I have learnt throughout this programme that I really do think inside the box and we need children to have these creative ideas to change the world for the better! Businesses need creative and inquisitive thinkers to move their ideas forward and in working with programmes such as S4TP’s Big Ideas programme, they are getting the chance to see first hand just what the next generation can bring, and in turn show the children what the business can offer should they wish to pursue a career in the construction or any other industry.
· What would you say to others considering participating in the programme?
Do it!!! When you walk in for the first time you may feel a bit scared and worried about what the kids will think, and whilst the day goes on your ideas can be very much inside the box. But at the end of the day everything is flipped upside down and you leave the school with a massive smile on your face thinking how amazing the next generation of inventors and engineers etc. will be!
We are proud and grateful to have you on board Rebecca – thank you for all your help!
Answers written by: Rebecca Stretton, Sales Advisor, Blocks Division, Tarmac Building Products
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.