Inspirational mentors help young people unlock their potential

Published: Monday 11 Nov 2013

Nominations for a hugely successful 12-month mentoring programme which will support and develop 20 young people from across the UK open today.

Now in its third year, the 'Unlocking Potential' programme is funded by education charity and exam board AQA and run in partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.  It offers 20 young people aged between 14 and 19 the chance to be mentored by world class sports stars.

This life-changing opportunity pairs young people who are nominated by their teachers with an inspirational mentor. They work one to one with their mentor, take part in group activities and plan and deliver a project that benefits their local community. During 2013, young people organised a charity fashion show, produced a personal video project about life in foster care and staged a dodge ball tournament to raise funds for a guide dog.

Since its launch two years ago, the programme has helped 40 young people.  It is open to any young person who has faced personal challenges and would benefit from an inspirational helping hand.  Nominations can be made via the AQA website and close on 17 January.

Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of AQA, said:

"This programme is unique because it offers intensive mentoring which really brings out the best in students, giving them a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills and build their confidence.  It has been wonderful to see the difference this programme is making – for many of the young people it has been truly life-changing.

"An important part of what makes it all work is the dedication and commitment of the teachers who nominate their students. They see that spark of potential at the start of the process – and then continue to support the students throughout the rest of their time at school."

Dame Kelly Holmes, who discovered her talent for running thanks to a teacher, said;

"School wasn't easy for me until somebody saw my talent. My PE teacher saw my potential and put me in a cross-country race, where I discovered I was good at running. 

"Finding my talent gave me the chance to set my sights on a goal and motivated me to try and achieve my dreams. Through the Unlocking Potential programme, teachers can help a young person find their talent and realise their potential by working with one of our sports stars. It could change their lives forever, just like it did for me."

Please visit the Unlocking Potential page for updates and information on how to nominate a student.


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