BBC's mentors for local school

Programme-makers and journalists at the William Morris Academy.


William Morris Academy student Brixhilda Kacubaj, 18, pictured at the launch of the Take Two programme, where she had her first meeting with her mentor Anne Gilchrist, head of entertainment and Blue Peter for Children’s BBC
  Related Links
  Pupils competing in Russian
  Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

BBC staff – including senior programme-makers and journalists – are linking up with local young people in a pioneering mentoring programme, run jointly with the council’s education business section.

The BBC Take Two Mentoring Programme links BBC mentors with sixth-form students at the William Morris Academy and Hammersmith & West London College. These students will in turn act as peer tutors and mentors for pupils from four local primary schools and two secondary schools.

The Take Two programme was launched on Monday (27 September) at the BBC’s New Media Centre, in White City, when the BBC volunteers met the young people they will be mentoring for the first time. Parents and staff from participating schools and colleges also attended the launch.

Twenty BBC staff have been paired with twenty young people - ten sixth-formers from the William Morris Academy, in Hammersmith, and ten students from Hammersmith & West London College, in Barons Court.

The mentors will arrange to meet the young people at the BBC every fortnight to discuss their progress in their sixth-form or college and any other issues, including personal interests and career goals, that they wish to talk about.

The Take Two programme is being spearheaded by the BBC’s factual & learning and corporate social responsibility departments and the council’s education business section. The BBC’s director of factual and learning, John Willis, will be one of the mentors with most of the others coming from various levels of his department, although BBC journalists from the current affairs department as well as senior staff from children’s BBC have also volunteered as mentors.

The student mentees will then act as peer tutors to year seven secondary pupils at Fulham Cross and Burlington Danes schools and to primary pupils at Fulham, Canberra, Sir John Lillie and Melcombe schools.

Brixhilda Kacubaj, 18, from East Acton, arrived in Britain with no English after fleeing the war in Kosovo with her family in 1999. She is now studying for a double-award A-level in business and GCSEs in maths, English and Spanish at the William Morris Academy, in Hammersmith.
She will be mentored by Anne Gilchrist, head of entertainment and Blue Peter for Children’s BBC, during the Take Two programme.

Brixhilda said: “I would like to study business administration at university and work for a large company like the BBC. I think having a mentor and being a tutor to other young people will help me to communicate better and learn how to deal with different types of people.”

John Willis, who will be mentor to another student from William Morris Academy, said: “This is a significant commitment for our staff but something which enables them to strengthen our already strong links with the local community and find out more about what young people are interested in. They will be able to offer students the benefits of their professional and personal experience, which will help the young people in their own work and personal development as well as their peer tutoring with local schools. At the same time, our staff will gain a valuable insight into what motivates and excites young people, which will benefit them as programme makers. We are trying to build a two-way relationship with our audience, as well as being good neighbours to the young people who live around us.”

Cllr David Williams, the council’s deputy for education, said: “This builds on the extremely successful partnership we already have with the BBC, which has enriched music, media and career-related activities within our schools and the community. Young people will benefit enormously from their regular interaction with BBC staff, including some very senior people who are giving their time generously. These students will then be able to use the experience and confidence gained to help children in our primary and secondary schools to develop their confidence and skills.”

October 10, 2004