Those who know me well are very aware that I am a huge, massive, enormous Mercedes Benz and Lewis Hamilton supporter; and been since his rookie years with McLaren. So I draw a lot of inspiration from him.
Love him or hate him, he is the GOAT. Lewis Hamilton, Formula One racing driver and seven-times world champion, often speaks about the importance of investing in youth through his own youth development NGO called Mission 44.
“I truly believe that investing in young people is one of the smartest things we can do for our future. They have the passion, the energy, and the creativity to solve the biggest challenges we face as a society. It’s our responsibility to give them the support and resources they need to make their dreams a reality, and to create a better world for all of us.”
I 100% agree and for this reason Credo Growth has partnered with EOA to support Junior to Giants over the past two years to develop school students – our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs at Generation Schools.
Generation Schools invests in these students to develop not only technical entrepreneurial skills, but also life skills and business skills. Credo and EOA worked together to identify entrepreneurs as mentors for each student.
Commenting on the partnership, programme lead Sandra De Abreu says, “Since the Junior to Giants programme started in 2021, we have seen four cohorts of interns through the programme. The success of the Junior to Giants programme lies in seeing our interns move through a process of awareness and skills acquisition, to be able to feel more equipped in applying themselves in the working world. We have had our interns move on to start successful careers in engineering and fund accounting and much more.
In between these specialist professions we have seen our interns move onto paths of further tertiary applications, as well as to gain more clarity on which professional step to take next. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Credo Growth and EOA in assisting us with placing mentors with our interns. The mentors that have so selflessly put themselves forward have had a lasting impact on the lives of these individuals and have assisted our interns with a professional network going into their careers. The process has proved to be invaluable.”
- Mentee training: we ensure that mentees are taught how to make the best use of this incredible opportunity, and what their own role as a mentee is in this process.
- Mentor training: there is a skill to being a great mentor, and we focus on supporting them to understand how to hold the role, know what structure to follow during sessions, and how to be clear about the expectations of both mentor and mentee.
- We focus on a combination of mentor and mentee development to set expectations, identify their outcomes for the journey, get to know each other and create a psychological contract.
You might wonder why mentorship from entrepreneurs for school students? The aim here is for the mentor, who has worked in a business, who has experienced the ups and downs of building a business, had many successes and many failures, to be able to guide a student in their journey towards achieving their goals, provide advice and support, and also ask really good questions about their passion and purpose in life.
I’m proud to say that the impact of the mentorship on these Junior to Giants school students has been significant. Here are a few mentee stories (and one from a mentor) to demonstrate this:
James Wiesner – Intern
Once a week, for around an hour, I would meet With Claire. She is a chartered accountant, so was able to offer me insight into the world of finance which is where I wish to pursue a career in.
I would also speak to her about the projects and tasks I was working on at the time. These sessions were really nice as I could speak openly and freely with Claire, and she would always have something to add or point out which I never realized or did not consider to be as important as it actually was.
This helped me to better work around the problems I was facing at the time because I was able to talk it out with Claire and gain some different and more knowledgeable perspectives on the problem I was encountering.
Overall, I would say having a mentor for Juniors to Giants is a very worthwhile feature as you are able to learn more, start building a network with or through your mentor, and be able to speak face to face with someone who is in the industry you want to pursue.
Blain Hannie – Intern
I found that having a mentor especially one like Alon, for me was quite helpful in terms of understanding how to achieve goals as well as how to properly set goals. This was also a way of understanding expectations for myself. It also helped me with controlling my anxiety in different stressful situations and just talking about each other’s experiences made me feel more comfortable with trying new things and even with the idea of failing and how to regroup.
I found that my mentor was quite insightful as he tried to help me find what I’m interested in. He dug into hobbies and how I feel about certain things and we came to a conclusion that I should do something creative. I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to talk to someone so similar to me as it was helpful hearing their perspective on life.
Garnette Thorne Managing Partner at Woww and EOA member and board member had this to say about his experience as a mentor:
Getting specialised training on mentoring was incredibly valuable as it was transferable to my day to day responsibilities within our business. Because the mentees are so young, that training becomes especially important. A very impactful and rewarding experience.
I’m now part of the programme for a second time, and I took a lot of learnings from the experience I had built up since starting the previous year that I could put into action faster and more effectively. So far I’ve been very inspired by my mentee, to see how he approaches his goals and challenges. To be involved with these motivated young mentees, is just as rewarding as it was the first time.
From their side as well, you can see they enjoy the process, and learn real life skills that should help them in the long run.
What we all saw happening:
Firstly, the mentors served as positive role models for the students. They supported these students to develop their self-esteem, and inspired them to reach their full potential – this alone is HUGE in today’s world where people are brutal and kids need to find their worth.
Secondly, they helped the mentees set goals, provided feedback on research or ideas, and helped them to think through if they want to work, start a business and think of areas of interest.
Thirdly, in some cases but also as part of this Junior to Giant programme the students were exposed to develop their social and emotional skills. They were guided on social interactions and learning how to navigate difficult situations and coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety.
We need more mentors in our world:
This initiative by Generation Schools to develop our future entrepreneurs is something that I whole heartily believe in and support, and I cannot be prouder of Credo Growth, and our EOA Mentors who give up their time to drive impact, and the mentees.
If you have had the privilege of growing through life lessons, whether that was from personal or professional experience, and had failures and success in life, then you ought to show up for someone as a mentor, and consider doing it for the youth around you – they need us, all of us, to grow and learn and be the best versions of themselves.