Breakthrough Digital Mentoring – a Guide for Mentors

Introducing Digital Mentoring

Whilst the schools remain closed, the Breakthrough team have been looking at new and safe ways for you to remain in contact with your mentee.

 

Breakthrough Digital Mentoring allows mentors and mentees to connect with each other via their school coordinator and to engage in live online mentoring sessions from the comfort of their own home.  With the introduction of Google Meet, face-to-face mentoring sessions are again possible – should a mentee and mentor wish to participate in a live video session.  If video sessions don’t suit, a live audio or online chat session can be arranged instead – again, using the Google Meet platform.  Similar to video, both the mentor and mentee must agree to this method of contact before a session can be arranged.

 

It’s important to note that digital or online mentoring will not replace in-school mentoring and is available only for a short time.  Mentored young people will be given the opportunity to participate and if they agree, we will seek the consent of their parent or carer.  As efforts are already underway to seek consent, we can update you regards the status of your mentee and method of contact they have requested.

 

All young people have been informed that participation in digital mentoring is voluntary and it’s worth mentioning that although a mentor agrees to take part, their mentee may not wish to do so or their parent/carer may decline to consent. If this is the case, we will let you know.

 

As before, young people can text or call their coordinator and ask for a message to be shared with their mentor.  Mentors can do the same via the school coordinator.  Communication via email is also possible with the school coordinator acting as ‘broker’ passing messages from mentee to mentor and vice-versa.

 

It is essential that we make you aware that if a mentor and mentee decide to ‘meet’ online, the Breakthrough School Coordinator will always participate in or supervise sessions.  Every effort will be made to keep this participation to a minimum by turning off mics and cameras but all conversations will be heard or read.  This decision has been in agreement with Dundee City Council and the Breakthrough Board to enhance safeguarding responsibilities and provide an additional level of support to mentors and mentees.  If a mentor has any concerns or issues regarding this they can speak to their school coordinator or email Laura Bertie, Mentor Services Manager.

 

Which digital mentoring methods can I choose?

Email, phone call or text:
You may already be sharing updates with your mentee via one or more of these contact methods. If not, we can arrange this for you.  All messages are shared via the school coordinator and as always, mentors and mentees are not permitted to contact one another directly.  If a mentee does not respond to messages or declines to participate in this method of contact, we will let you know.  If your mentee is unable to share messages because they don’t have access to a device, data or Wi-Fi, please be assured that we will do our best to provide them with what they need to stay connected.

Google Meet:

Google Meet is a free secure video conferencing tool available online and via a smart phone app.  It provides a safe meeting place for mentees and mentors to connect.  Google Meet has three functions – video chat, audio chat and a standalone chat function without video and sound – similar to text.  All ‘meets’ happen in real time and as mentioned above, involve the mentee, mentor AND school coordinator.

 

The set-up for Google Meet is very simple:

  • Mentors are sent an invitation that includes a unique link to the live meet
  • Mentors click the link using Google Chrome to gain access
  • Mentors insert their name when requested
  • The school coordinator approves the request to join
  • If using a laptop – no software download required
  • If using a mobile phone – download the free Google Meet app from the Apple Store or Google Play
Please don’t worry about set-up as we will provide you with further instructions should you and your mentee wish to participate.

 

Similar to email, text and phone, if your mentee disengages or declines a Google Meet request, we will let you know.  If your mentee has difficulties accessing a Google Meet, we will do our best to provide the tools to support their participation.

 

Important guidelines

  • Mentors and mentees do not have to participate in digital mentoring
  • Mentors and mentees must not share personal contact information
  • Google Meets last a maximum of 30 minutes
  • Mentors and mentees should agree a contact schedule that suits (we will ask for your thoughts about this in the attached form)
  • Messages can be sent to the school coordinator at any time, but replies will only be sent between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday
  • Google Meets are scheduled in advance and will take place week days only between 10am and 4pm
  • Mentors and mentees can change their mind at any time regards the method of contact and their overall participation
  • Breakthrough School Coordinators will remain present during every Google Meet
  • If you are concerned or worried about your mentee following an online exchange of information or a Google Meet, please talk with your school coordinator in the first instance to share your concerns.  Our safeguarding and child protection responsibilities remain a priority.

 

What happens next?

To notify Breakthrough of your decision to participate/not participate in Breakthrough Digital Mentoring, please CLICK HERE to let us know.  We will use this information to determine how best to proceed with your mentoring relationship.  If you agree to continue your mentoring relationship whilst schools are closed, we will be in touch soon to discuss further and put a contact plan in place.  If you have decided to wait until the schools return before continuing with your mentoring relationship, we will get back to you to confirm how this will work.

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