The Evidence Portal

Educational activities and support

Flexible activity

In this activity, young people are supported to further their education and learn about different topics. The importance and benefits of education is emphasised by mentors. Mentors should encourage young people to attend school or other educational institutions (e.g. TAFE) and to explore and pursue their academic interests.

Workshops and seminars on specific topics related to transition, youth issues and development, and future pathways are provided to mentees.

How can it be implemented?

The educational activities and support can be provided a number of different ways. The approach taken will depend on the needs and preferences of the young person.

One-on-one individual sessions

Educational activities and support can be embedded into existing one-on-one sessions between the mentor and young person. Mentors can work with the young person to promote educational opportunities. This may include:

  • visiting or contacting educational institutes (e.g. schools, TAFE, universities)
  • providing information about potential careers
  • encouraging success in school

Group workshops

Educational activities and support can also be embedded into group mentoring sessions. Workshops can address topics like employment and further education.

Group educational experiences

Mentors and young people can attend educational group activities with other young people and mentors. This could include day trips to museums, art galleries, university open days etc.

What should I consider when working with Aboriginal people and communities?

  • Where possible, local Elders should be involved in the program as mentors or in other activities. This can enhance the cultural connections of young people. It can also improve the level of respectful relationships with local community leaders (Ware, 2013).
  • Developing an image of university (or another institution) that young Aboriginal people can see themselves joining or becoming a part of is important (O’Shea 2013). Mentors should work with young people to actively create this connection.
  • Mentoring programs should identify and promote pathways for school students (Rutherford et al. 2019). This could include:
    • organising on-campus and on-Country activities for young people to attend
    • connecting with Indigenous elders studying at a university and prominent Indigenous mentors through special talks and lectures
    • organising mentoring partnerships with university students
  • Where relevant, mentors should work to reinforce messages that schools are already trying to achieve (e.g. improving school attendance and behaviour in the classroom) (Peralta et al. 2018).

Who is the target group?

Education activities have been implemented with the following target groups:

  • young people at risk of delinquency and substance abuse
  • young people at-risk of mental illness and delinquent behaviours
  • young people transitioning out of foster care

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In the Campus Corps program, mentors undertake individualise educational/career activities to encourage success in school and positive future orientation. Individualise sessions are also conducted on the university campus to promote education opportunities. 
  • In the Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth, young people and their mentors attend group educational activities.
  • In the TAKE CHARGE program, young people participate in workshops about employment and postsecondary education

What else should I consider?

Positive mentor-mentee relationships develop over a long time period (generally at least 12-18 months). Meaningful contact needs to be maintained for at least 12-18 months, with effectiveness and influence increasing the longer the relationship is maintained. Some evidence suggests that short-term mentoring programs (6 months or less) may disadvantage at-risk youth as they can reinforce or compound the sense of loss and disappointment frequently linked with other youth-adult relationships (Ware, 2013). This sense of loss can be particularly acutely felt where the relationship has ended poorly or suddenly.

Mentors should continue to support the young person and build their relationship after the ‘at-risk’ period. Mentors should continue to support young people through a phase where positive changes are consolidated.

Further resources

Last updated:

25 Nov 2022

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