Saying that the measure of society is how it treats the weakest can also be transferred to the business environment and saying that the measure of business class is how it uses its potential to help and develop young generations by helping them enter their professional life. Youth mentoring, conducted by experienced businessmen, is one of the forms of support that teenagers can use when thinking about their future career.
Successful people want to share their knowledge and experiences
What distinguishes mentoring projects from school is the fact that such meetings are conducted by experienced businessmen and managers who have the need to share knowledge and experience. Therefore, young participants of the program have a unique opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship from the practical side, but also to choose their career path more consciously. Often, it is only during meetings with mentors that they realize the importance of the right choice of studies, participation in internship programs and the appropriate selection of additional activities that will allow them to enter adulthood. In a situation where the school does not provide practical knowledge or the opportunity to properly discern one’s own abilities, such programs can help young people to see their own values, discover passions and manage their lives appropriately.
Mentoring programs are most often a form of a mission followed by managers involved in them, which is why they are usually classes for which participants pay up to several hundred zlotys per semester. Participation in The Grade, a project in Gdańsk, implemented partially at the Olivia Business Centre, costs PLN 100 per semester, PLN 200 at Avenue, and thanks to EU support and ministerial funds, the Career Accelerator – the social skills development program run by O4 Coworking in Gdańsk is a program free. Thanks to this, they do not exclude any of the youth groups socially, and even more: they open up opportunities to teenagers who do not have the opportunity to benefit from the support of the scientific or business community on a daily basis.
Being involved in activities on a mission can bring many benefits also for companies and for the mentors themselves. This is confirmed by Maciej Kamiński, one of the mentors involved in the project The Grade: These classes give me incredible satisfaction and fulfillment. The Grade program is a continuation of my social passions. In this way, I was able to combine my life passions: working with young people with this vitality and energy, devoted to strengthening and extracting their potential and accompanying them in searching for their place on Earth.
The heart of mentoring beats in office buildings
The Gdańsk office center has become the heart of the Tri-City mentoring programs, as three such projects are implemented in its area: The Grade is addressed to young boys aged 13 to 19 and aims to help them enter adulthood and enable them to properly manage your life path and career, for example by choosing the right field of study. The program is carried out in groups and during individual meetings, and each participant has his own guide – mentor. Classes are held every two weeks and all are conducted by speakers experienced in a given field.
Mentors are most often managers from companies operating at Olivia Business Centre, as well as external experts who have their own businesses, project management, business psychologists, financiers and investment advisers. The Grade is a unique project that opens up new opportunities for participants, at a very key stage in their lives, when their attitudes and values are formed, which they will guide in their lives. The essence of The Grade consists of a number of factors – says Maciej Kamiński. First of all – young people have the knowledge and experience of fantastic mentors who share their life experience at their disposal. Secondly – a very attractive formula of the program itself, which provides the opportunity to meet interesting and inspiring people, offers the opportunity to engage in interesting initiatives, as well as to make friends with like-minded peers. And above all, it is a great alternative to spending time in front of a computer or TV.
The same is true of a similar project called Avenue, targeting young high school students. The mentors and participants in them are only women who feel professionally and privately fulfilled and willingly share their knowledge and sometimes with young high school students. The curriculum includes topics such as proactivity, motivating girls to actively and consciously transitioning to high school, time management, finances, negotiations, building conscious relationships and group leadership.
Maciej Kamiński emphasizes that adolescence is the most critical period in life and that is why mentors focus on young people at this age. It is in high school that we define who we are and decide in which direction we are going. In the current fast paced, changing, unpredictable world, it is very difficult for young people to find answers to these questions. In addition, without having established values, it is very easy to get lost in all of this. The support of an adult, mature man who will support in this process with his wisdom and experience is invaluable – summarizes Maciej Kamiński.
A program in which young people aged 15-29 willing to self-development can learn to write and implement projects, and then have their ideas assessed and verified by experts is the Career Accelerator, run by Martyna Czarnobaj-Borowska from O4 Coworking with its own headquarters in Gdańsk Olivia Business Centre. The main goal of the accelerator is the development of social competences of the participants through participation in workshops, trainings and meetings with mentors, coaches or businessmen running their own companies, but precisely in the form of developing an idea for a social initiative, action or other activity, shaping social attitudes or encouraging to action. Within 13 months, the participants prepared projects which, with their professionalism and ingenuity, often surprised the members of the jury, who finally assessed the submitted ideas of the participants. Among them were projects in the field of ecology, psychology, promotion of healthy food, education and culture. At the networking meeting ending the project, I saw with my own eyes how amazing progress these young people made, how well they developed their competences. They gained experience, gained more self-confidence and opened up to other people. I am convinced that everyone will receive certificates confirming the development of social competences, which they applied for while implementing the projects. – says project coordinator Martyna Czarnobaj-Borowska.
However, competences and career are not everything
However, the certificates are not the most important goals of participants and organizers of mentoring projects. According to Natalia, one of the participants of the Career Accelerator program, the evolution that they underwent during its duration allowed them to look at their competences and life plans in a completely different way: We remember that day when we entered one of the Olivia Business buildings for the first time, full of stress and uncertainty. Center and we couldn’t operate the elevator as we had to use the access card. Little lost girls for the first time in the big corporate world. The Career Accelerator has exceeded our wildest expectations as it has given us much more than just the development of social competences. The entire workshop part, trainers, the level of organization and care for us – the participant is one great cosmos! Another participant of the Accelerator, Adrianna, has a similar opinion: It was an amazing adventure that will definitely stay in my heart for the rest of my life. The skills we acquired have simply become part of me and will be useful in my further development. I have met a lot of wonderful people for whom I am very grateful. For the fact that everyone gives as much as they can and contributed to the project. I will be pleased to remember this whole period of the project
By analyzing the effects of the programs, mentors evaluate their goals from a slightly different perspective. For them, the most important are the values and the longer-term benefits that the participants derive from them: We have at least two layers of understanding of the term „success”. – says Maciej Kamiński. On the one hand, it will be the choice of your life path, perhaps a field of study, improvement of personal effectiveness and discipline on the way to achieving the planned goals. But there is also a deeper layer of this issue. By confronting mature adults, young people have an undeniable opportunity to look at life from a broader perspective, to think about what will really make them happy in life. Are you climbing the career ladder? Or maybe strengthening deep family relationships? Meeting participants often answer the question whether the concept of „success” defined by the current society is what they really want. In this respect, I have in mind a few examples of young teenagers who, as a result of contact with The Grade, reoriented their goals. It went in a direction more in line with its natural talents, dreams, and not necessarily the expectations and environmental pressure. And that’s a real reason to be proud!
There are certainly hundreds of mentoring programs all over the country. The effects of those conducted in the environment related to Olivia Business Center indicate that young people should not be afraid to look for opportunities for themselves in the environment of modern companies and office buildings. Just surfing the websites of business centers and finding out about opportunities, social programs or other support initiatives may turn out to be an inspiring activity, and maybe even the beginning of a new life path.