Posted: 18 Mar. 2019 8 min. read

How mentoring helped me to be the first in my family to go to uni

How do you write a CV, prepare for a job interview or get into university if you do not have someone to show you how? That’s why students at St Mary Magdalene Academy in Islington, one of the Deloitte One Million Futures partner schools, have been offered mentoring by a team of Deloitte professionals. Harry Charie, 18, about to sit his A Levels, says the support transformed his prospects. 

Although I am proud of my achievements, like many people I don’t feel that confident talking about what I’ve done and I struggle to put it down on paper. Talking about my achievements felt a bit like showing off. But that can be a real drawback when you want to get a job or get into uni.

That’s probably why my head of sixth form nudged me to go along to the mentoring sessions being held at my school. To be honest, I was not really sure what was involved. But I am so glad I took up the opportunity.

I’m already getting some great university offers to study Environmental Science and I’m sure that’s as a result of my mentor, Matt Blain, in Consulting at Deloitte.

I was quite surprised at how easy it was to get along with him. I think that’s because they matched us carefully… he studied geography too, so we had something in common.

While I hope to get good grades in my maths, geography and biology A Levels, I really needed some help preparing a CV to get part-time work experience and with writing my personal statement for university, which I knew was vitally important for getting an offer.

We started with the basics. I didn’t really know how to write a professional email, so that was a great help and then we put together a CV so I could get part-time work. This, and the mock interview practice, really paid off and I’m sure I would not have got my job without it. I felt more prepared and more relaxed - this confidence came through in the interview.

Then we tackled my personal statement. Matt showed me what he had written for his and it was a real wake-up call. It really hit home that mine needed a lot of work.

He helped me to identify all the positive things I could put in my personal statement and that’s when I realised just how much I had done and have achieved, from being head boy and volunteering in an old people’s home, to completing the National Citizens Service and presenting in front of 150 people.

Matt showed me how to make my personal statement unique and really express who I am as a person. I had nobody else to help me in this way. As a result I will be the first in my family to go to university.

Yet all it involved was an hour a week (but Matt was really flexible fitting round my work and studies). So, in just 12 hours he has changed my prospects.

One of my teachers asked me to speak to the year below about mentoring and I told them. “You lose nothing by going, it is enjoyable and it will make a difference… so take advantage of it”.

The real game changer is that it’s one-to-one – someone is making an effort to care about your future and all the advice is tailored to you. For people like me who have no one to talk to about things like this, mentoring really makes an impact. So thanks Matt.

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Kate Condon

Kate Condon


Kate is a Manager in the Responsible Business team working with our charities, schools and social enterprises as part of One Million Futures. Kate drives communications and marketing initiatives to build the profile of One Million Futures both internally and externally.