British ORT is preparing to expand its JUMP mentoring programme for senior students at Jewish high schools following a highly successful inaugural year.
There has been high praise for the programme from the 50 teenagers who were assigned personal mentors with expertise in a range of professions from policing and law to midwifery and music production.
Not least among them was Julia Sidon, 16, a student at Jews Free School (JFS), Britain’s largest Jewish day school. Julia was awarded a £150 shopping voucher for the best portfolio recording her experiences with her mentor, dentist Suzanne Barnett.
Together with peers from JFS as well as students from Hasmonean Girls School, Julia enjoyed six one-hour sessions with a mentor who works in her favoured field. Over the course of the academic year, the students enjoyed a workplace tour, advice on how to prepare a CV, and the chance to visit a genuine work meeting. They were encouraged to keep a portfolio on what they did which was supplemented by their own research on the profession in question. “I honestly thought it was very good,”? Julia said. “It was thanks to my mentor that I won the prize: she was amazing, whenever I had questions she was there for me. She found work experience for me with a periodontist. I got a proper feel for what it’s like to be a general practitioner thanks to her.”?
Dr Barnett said she had enjoyed the mentoring and was happy to do it again next year if called upon.
“I think JUMP’s a great opportunity to give to students who are considering their career options,”? she said. “And Julia was a delight, a breath of fresh air. She’s so enthusiastic and I enjoyed the whole experience. She’ll make a great dentist. I’ve told her that I’d be very happy to help her in the future; she has my phone number. The relationship doesn’t finish just because that JUMP year has closed.”?
Julia, who is studying maths, chemistry, biology and French A-levels, has wanted to be a dentist since experiencing the benefits of good dental work herself. What she has learned through JUMP has confirmed her decision and she has started investigating university options which themselves are the result of discussions with Dr Barnett.
Her parents are also delighted. Her mother, Esther Sidon, said that dentistry was as difficult to get into as medicine and was very demanding.
“So it’s good to know beforehand what’s expected. JUMP is a very good idea and it’s a good programme; very well organised. It’s excellent for the students because they really get a hands-on understanding,”? Mrs Sidon said.
Julia received her prize at a reception held at ORT House this week attended by many of the mentors and mentees.
JUMP founder and Director Julia Alberga said it was not only an opportunity for students to have an early insight into their intended career.
“It is also seen as Jewish corporate social responsibility, a way for individuals to give back to the community by giving of their work time to young Jewish students starting on their path in life,”? Ms Alberga said.
The Childwick Trust has awarded British ORT £15,000 to significantly expand JUMP in the coming year.
“It’s been really successful. I’ve had letters from parents saying how great it was and emails from happy students so there is obvious potential for this to grow. How many students we will be able to accept depends on how many volunteer mentors we can find but it will definitely be bigger next year,”? Ms Alberga said.
“We’re looking for vibrant working people who would like to share their inside knowledge of what they do with students. Prospective mentors should send their details to [email protected],”? she added.