LOOK’s tailored peer-mentoring service connects VI young people with a trained VI mentor to offer advice, support and guidance on subjects such as school, further & Higher Education, careers, opportunities and independent living, based on the mentor’s own experiences.
It’s a hugely rewarding role that requires valuable skills that are transferable to other roles, both voluntary and in employment. Many of our mentors believe the skills that they have developed through mentoring benefit their CVs and job applications.
We have compiled this handy list of FAQs to help you decide if you’d like to apply for the training.
LOOK Mentoring FAQs
1. Who can become a LOOK Mentor?
LOOK Mentors are visually impaired adults aged between 18 and 35 years old. Our Mentors have diverse backgrounds, education and career paths, interests, hobbies and life experiences.
2. What does being a LOOK Mentor entail, e.g. expectations of me and time commitment required?
Being a LOOK Mentor is a voluntary role. You can read the LOOK Mentor Role Description in full here. You are matched with a mentee for 12 months and are required to communicate with your mentee once a week. Of course absences and busy periods are understandable, we just ask that you are open about these with the LOOK team and your mentee in order to set realistic expectations.
3. Does mentoring happen face-to-face?
The LOOK Mentoring project is primarily facilitated through written communication via an online platform. In exceptional cases where written communication is not appropriate for a mentee we may explore different options, but these are rare and are dependant on the mentor’s skillset.
4. Why should I become a LOOK Mentor?
Boost your CV: The skills mentoring utilises and strengthens are transferable to other roles, both voluntary and in employment.
“I am using all my mentoring skills and experience in job applications. I have been successful in getting my first ever first job and I am still drawing on my mentoring work experience as I develop in this role.” (LOOK Mentor)
Give back: LOOK Mentoring is all about utilising the lived experiences of VI people to enrich the lives of others.
“Thank you for all the support and the ground we have covered. Without my mentor I would still be at square one weighing up the next options and I now feel more confident to get involved in the VI community and talk about VI.” (LOOK Mentee)
“I love being able to support younger people. I have suffered with anxiety myself and there have definitely been times in my life when I could have really done with a mentor.” (Brigitta, LOOK Mentor)
“Reading your messages about your experience was brilliant and super insightful for me. I had absolutely no idea that holiday companies, like those you’ve mentioned, exist. That’s fantastic! It’s made me feel excited and inspired to go off and travel (when it’s safe) so thank you for letting me know all about that, it was a joy to read.” (LOOK Mentee)
“My daughter is proud to be involved in the project. It is fantastic to hear her talking about the things she wants to share with her mentor. School is challenging right now but this connection is helping support her confidence. Thank you to the mentor team!” (Parent of a mentee)
“The mentoring service is important because everyone needs somebody to guide them at one time or another. It feels great to be able to offer that to someone: I know there have been plenty of times in my life when I would have found it really helpful.” (Zahra, mentor)
“My daughter was feeling very low about losing her sight. She really thought she hadn’t got a future and started to doubt herself. Now she has a connection to a mentor who has told her about how she studies, works and lives independently. X is now raising her own aspirations and knows she can have aspirations and hopes.” (Parent of a LOOK Mentee)
Enhance your confidence: We know that there is no-one better equipped to empower and inspire young people with the knowledge and confidence they need to succeed, than you!
“It’s so good what you guys do being able to pair up people. I imagine it’s challenging at times because you want to be able to trust us to support young people who need it. Thank you for being trusting and believing.” (LOOK Mentor)
“Being in the position to help another young person by being a mentor has been great because it’s not just helping another person, it has also built my own confidence to know that I can be of use to someone else.” (Danielle, LOOK mentor and joint winner of mentoring pair of the year, Brightside Awards 2017)
Build community: by joining our team of (ever growing!) 85 trained LOOK Mentors, you will be expanding your network within the VI community and joining our #LOOKFamily!
“I have loved getting involved with the LOOK mentoring project. Most of the time you don’t think about how you are coping: you just get your head down and get on with life. LOOK has helped me to get in touch with my VI self. It has been great to get to know others and learn from them that I am not the only one who finds it tough sometimes.” (Kirsty, LOOK Mentor)
5. Why have others decided to become LOOK Mentors?
Here, our mentors explain in their own words, why they became LOOK mentors:
“When I reflect and think back on myself as a young person/teenager, I realise that I was quite stubborn; this was helpful in some situations, but it also hindered me in other ways as I was sometimes reluctant to ask for help. Now, I feel I am in a good position to support someone who might be feeling a similar way to what I was feeling 10 years ago.”
“Losing my sight as a young adult was such a daunting time, I felt so vulnerable and a real sense of loss. I want to be a mentor to support other young people to have the ambition, confidence and belief that they can achieve everything they deserve.”
“Being a mentor for me is about helping people who are in a place that I once was, and making sure they don’t feel alone. When I was struggling, I know that I would have loved to know about something like LOOK.”
“I started as a mentee, and was inspired to become a mentor because I know first hand how helpful having that mentor relationship can be, and am so grateful for the positive impact that my mentors have had on my life.”
“Being the first one in my family to go through everything in terms of education and employment etc., I didn’t know anyone who was having the same experiences as me of going through these things while also losing my sight. Looking back, having someone a bit older who could have helped guide me through some of these life experiences would have been so helpful, so that’s what I want to be for someone else.”
“I was a very stubborn kid who never accepted help, and it’s impacted me badly now because I struggle with tech and don’t have much support. I hope to be able to help someone else through the pitfalls of growing up with a visual impairment.”
“For me, being a mentor is about using the challenges I’ve been through in a productive way and helping visually impaired young people find their voice.”
“I know from my own experiences how isolating it can be when you don’t have anyone around you who can relate to what you’re going through; it can get so lonely. But it becomes so much easier when you have someone to talk to! I feel that I’m at a stage now where I can give back what I’ve learned and pass that on to someone else who needs it. It’s about giving back to the community.”
6. How do I become a LOOK Mentor?
To become a LOOK Mentor you are required to:
- Submit a completed application by the specified deadline.
- Submit required supporting evidence in order for us to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check for you.
- Complete the LOOK Mentor Training (currently being held online)
7. How do I apply to become a LOOK Mentor?
The closing date for applications for our next cohort of mentor training is 17:00 on Monday 3rd May 2021.
Training sessions will be held across 4 x 1.5 hour sessions via Zoom at 7pm on Thursdays 27 May , 3 June , 10 June and 17 June 2021.
You can complete the application form online, here.
We encourage you to complete the application independently as much as possible. If you have any accessibility issues with the form please contact email@example.com
We recommend reading through the application questions before completing the form, so that you have all the info you need ready to hand when submitting.
There are some questions in the application form that you may want to spend some time drafting, and some information that you may need to gather before submitting your application. This includes:
- A personal statement detailing your suitability to become a LOOK Mentor
- A personal profile that can be shared with mentees should your application be successful
- Issue number and date details of your existing DBS, if you have one, or photo evidence for the processing of a new DBS. We appreciate you may need sighted support to get this done and thankyou for supporting us in this essential legal requirement
- Details for a reference we can contact should your application be successful
8. What can I expect from the LOOK Mentor training?
Typically our mentor training is run over a residential weekend, however, due to the current restrictions and health concerns we are running our training for new mentors online via Zoom in a series of four 1.5 hour workshops, complemented with a pack of resources.
The next training will be held via Zoom at 7pm on Thursdays 27 May , 3 June , 10 June and 17 June 2021.
The training will cover:
- Who is LOOK?
- What is mentoring?
- Introduction to the social and medical models of disability
- Key skills needed for effective, written mentoring communications
- Testimonials from current mentors
- Practical group activities practicing responding to challenging messages
- Project rules and safeguarding at LOOK
- Introduction to the online mentoring platform
- Support and opportunities for mentor
Workshops also include ice-breakers and opportunities to connect with your fellow mentoring trainees, and lots of opportunity to ask questions and for group discussion.
“I have really enjoyed taking part in the LOOK mentor training sessions over Zoom. Before the training I had never heard of the social model of disability and found this to be interesting. I found the sessions really engaging and informative. Everyone on the course was really friendly and it was great hearing other peoples ideas and sharing experiences. I felt that the training really built my confidence and it was lovely to meet other visually impaired trainees. Overall I found it to be a really positive experience and I’ve taken away a lot of knowledge. I can’t wait to begin my journey as a mentor and hopefully make a difference to a young visually impaired person.” (Trainee LOOK Mentor)
“I thoroughly enjoyed the LOOK mentoring training. I felt the environment created by the staff gave mentor’s confidence to share their personal stories and engage with the fellow mentor’s. I thought the training was both comprehensive and insightful into the role of a mentor and I would highly recommend to a friend.” (Trainee LOOK Mentor)