Meet the Mentor! April 2019

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 supporting in our North England region – Robert Thomas.

Name: Robert Thomas

Position: General Management Graduate


· Please describe your role: 

I am currently on the Tarmac General Management Graduate scheme which is designed to give me the chance to fully experience every aspect of the Materials Division so I can find out where I best fit in to the business.

· Please describe your route to this role:

I studied Geology at the University of Edinburgh and became interested in the applications my degree could have within industry. I was attracted to Tarmac due to their sustainable and innovative approach to the Materials Industry and I thought my background in geology would stand me in good stead within the industry.

· What advice do you have for young people interested in either following a similar route to you or in working for your business/sector?

I would say that whilst university is a fantastic choice for young people leaving school, it is not the be all and end all – more and more young people are now choosing to do vocational apprenticeships which offer a brilliant route into a wide range of industries, including into the materials sector. So give it some thought!

· Why did you get involved in S4TP’s Big Ideas programme?

I got involved with Solutions for the Planet because of their drive to make topics surrounding STEM and sustainability more accessible for young people. I wanted to help young people be better informed and prepared for the challenges they are sure to face.

· What involvement have you had so far?

I have been involved since October 2018 and I have been to both Big Ideas Days and development sessions.

· Has participating met your expectations?

My involvement has been very rewarding and I feel I have become more comfortable around young people due to the time I spent in schools with the programme.

· What has been the best part about participating in the programme?

The excitement and energy of the children coming up with out-there ideas to solve the issues they identified.

· What has been the most challenging part about participating in the programme?

As I haven’t had much experience working with young people, to start off with I was a tad nervous but I quickly became more comfortable through support from both Solutions for the Planet and school staff.

· What have you learnt, through participating, about yourself, the company and sector you work for, young people, schools and skills development?

I have learnt that young people have much to give and possess fantastic ideas that with some honing can become brilliant concepts.

· Have you been able to take the skills learned and developed on this programme back into the workplace? 

I have become a touch more patient with my colleagues and have taken more care in making sure that I fully take in their views and ideas.

· What would you say to others considering participating in the programme?

The programme is massively beneficial to both the children and the mentors and I would encourage anyone with the time to get involved!


We are proud and grateful to have you on board Rob – thank you for all your help!


Answers written by: Robert Thomas, General Management Graduate, Materials Yorkshire, Tarmac

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.