I spent an interesting afternoon yesterday at a seminar for volunteer mentors on the Black Country Chamber of Commerce NEA mentoring scheme. This is a pilot scheme which is part of the government’s “Get Britain Working” agenda. This meant that we had a visit from “the Gentleman in Whitehall” to check up on us!
The scheme applies to those who have been unemployed for between 6 and 12 months, who have an idea for their own business. Job seeker’s allowance continues for 3 months, with a further 3 months at half rate.
The mentor works with the mentee (horrible word) for 8 weeks to produce a business plan. If that plan is accepted, mentoring continues for another 18 weeks, giving an effective 6 months of support.
Just to show it works, we were given a case study of a chef who is now running the restaurant of a pub successfully. While the idea and drive are his, the mentor brought clarity to the idea and a wealth of business experience.
I am just looking forward to my first mentee!