As will have been seen from Chapter 5, you will need specific criteria if you wish to recruit mentors to work with school pupils. There are other considerations that need to be taken into account, such as the need for knowledge of the education system and curriculum of the country where the mentoring is taking place. For some schemes this will be an essential criterion, for example if you are supporting secondary school pupils with their academic performance or qualification and exam subject choices. It may be beneficial to recruit students from particular backgrounds such as lower socioeconomic groups, those who have been in the care system or perhaps had behavioural issues when they were younger. Attracting suitable students can be accomplished by mentioning in your promotional materials and talks that applications would be welcome from people with these backgrounds. It is likely that students who share a similar background to their mentee will be able to build a better rapport and empathise more easily than if not. However it is not essential in all cases and it may not be practical to do so in sufficient numbers. A well-trained and well-intentioned mentor too can build a good rapport with a young person even if she or he has not faced such barriers her- or himself. It is worth noting that young people, in particular, often prefer a more pragmatic type of support when facing barriers, as opposed to sympathy.
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