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Mentors needed for school debating programme
27 Jun 2016
by Simon Alton

A project in Shropshire aimed at helping students with their debating skills is looking for more mentors.

More than 100 pupils have taken part in the Debate-Ed programme since it was set up less than a year ago.

The project was launched by Holly Edwards, a trainee solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler, and she is now calling on more sixth form students to join the campaign to act as mentors to younger pupils.

The scheme is aimed at developing debating and communication skills through involvement with workshops.

As well as improving the skills and boosting the confidence of the younger pupils, the scheme also has major benefits for the older mentor.

Kay Kelly, partner at Lanyon Bowdler, which is sponsoring the project, said: “The scheme is an ideal opportunity for gaining experience of leading a team.

“Learning debating skills through the Debate-Ed programme helps to show any potential employer and universities that you can take on a leadership role.”

Previous debating experience is not essential to becoming a mentor. Applicants must be able to commit to two training sessions in September and then take regular sessions at their assigned school during term times.

“The most important thing is to be enthusiastic and help younger students develop,” added Kay.

Holly Edwards said: “I am passionate about this mentoring scheme and believe it can really give students and mentors a major advantage as they set out on their university placement or into the workplace.

“Mentors need to be good listeners and able to explain the point they are trying to get across really well. A major role is encouraging the people you are trying to help and generally point them in the right direction.

“Debating experience or public speaking can be beneficial in taking on a mentor role but it really isn’t vital.

“Full training is given and you do not need to have studied any particular subject at school to be considered – anyone can take it on and we are looking for as many sixth form students as possible to come forward for this vital mentoring role.”

For more information about the programme, visit the website at www.debate-ed.co.uk or connect on twitter @debate-ed

Holly Edwards at a recent debating competition

Holly Edwards at a recent debating competition