Increasing Student Engagement Whilst Minimising Admin at Brunel University London

Engaging Younger Generations through Interactive and Social Online Mentoring

An interesting article that I saw today talks about the younger generation of 16-25 year olds, referred to as Generation Y – and their experiences and expectations going into the future world of work. Many of the mentoring programmes our customers run are in some way, preparing young people for their working lives later – through student mentoring and youth mentoring schemes. According to the article, ‘Generation Y’ is used to shorter bursts of activity, more interactions and social media, whereas the world of work does not necessarily match this experience so far. So what is being done to link these two different worlds – of young and old?

The article emphasises that the younger generation wants interaction. “Emerging generations of employees interface less like one does with television and more like one does on Twitter. They want shorter bursts of content that invite interaction and are full of images. Further, it’s a two-way, not one-way, interaction.”

This is where mentoring programmes are so helpful – either for youth mentoring schemes that help prepare them for the future, or for student mentoring programmes, preparing university students for the world of work, or for professional mentoring programmes, coaching young people through the work environment once they are there.

The mentoring programmes you run are encouraging interaction with others and linking the different worlds and experiences all of us have in those different worlds. And online mentoring software supports this with more regular interactions and a social media-like experience, more akin to the environment they are used to. All in all, we now have the environment to be able to support younger people – be they in a youth mentoring environment, student educational or professional mentoring environment.

In another article, this time about mentoring in Africa for future scientists, the writer makes an interesting point: “Mentoring the next generation of scientists in Africa should start from primary school, continue at university and extend into the workplace.” At the moment, mentoring programmes are not all that connected and run separately by universities and in the workplace. But what a great idea that programmes should start at school, continue through higher education and into the workplace. Maybe something for future mentoring programmes, to really link the new with the old worlds…