I have been at Goldman Sachs for over ten years now, and it is something that would not have been possible without the help of having a good mentor. Before landing what has been my dream job, it was mentor in the form of an employment consultant, who pushed me in the right direction encouraging me to explore new avenues I previously saw as inaccessible, as well as greatly helping with my CV writing and Interview skills and making me realise just how much I had to offer.
It was then a mentor in the form of my supervisor, who ensured I was able to turn what was originally a work placement, into a full time job by sharing their vast knowledge, and ensuring I was always on track and motivated, and able to view it as a long term career. Since being taken on full time, and in the ten years that have followed, I’ve had many mentors all of which have been tailored to suit my goals as my career continues to develop and evolve and it has been through their knowledge and ability to motivate that I continue to go from strength to strength.
Investing time in a good mentor can have a genuinely positive impact to the life of someone with autism, providing them to with the knowledge, and motivation that can change their outlook on life, allowing them to gain the confidence to realise their potential, and pursue their goals. Continued mentorship can enable them to excel, and achieve things they never imagined possible.
An Interview with James
Specialist mentoring can transform the life and prospects of young adults with autism as revealed in this interview with James, a client of one of our mentor partners.
What aspects of job seeking do you find most difficult?
Deciding what I need and what I want to go for. Recognising what is obtainable and not scaring myself off. Agreeing to meet people!
How has mentoring helped you with these difficult aspects of job seeking?
Calmed me down and settled nerves, often providing a step by step process and making the process seem more achievable. Talking about it can make it seem more doable.
What specific issues has your mentor helped you address that you were not getting help with elsewhere?
Focusing the mind on job-searching whereas before I was scaring myself off from even broaching the subject. Understanding problems I faced/built up in my mind and breaking them down one at a time.
What is your best experience in the workplace?
Getting a job and holding onto it. Being told that what I am doing is correct and existing in the workplace. Making friends and companions.
What is your best tip for others in relation to finding a job or in the workplace?
It is never as hard as you make out, just take your time and speak through your problems/anxieties/hang-ups with someone who can help you break them down.
Chris Christofi – BT employee
I started on a 6 week placement through the Undiscovered Workforce project run by an autism charity in collaboration with BT. I went to work in the BT.com team in March 2010. The placement was successful and was extended. I became a permanent BT employee in April 2011. Over the years, I have received a lot of support from my manager Jon Boulton, Dan Parker Head of CRM, Reporting and Analytics and Andy Kilbane the head of the Insights Team. I have also received both pre-employment and ongoing mentoring support from organisations like AS Mentoring. If this was not available, it is unlikely I would be working at BT today.
When I completed my Master’s degree and was looking for a job, I was allocated a Mentor from the autism charity who provided pre-employment support for me. This involved training to build my skills through one to one sessions and small group workshops focussing on a number of areas including communication skills, job searching, and interview skills and creating an effective CV. I am currently receiving “On going” in Work mentoring support from Laura Williams of AS Mentoring, and both myself and my managers at BT have found this very beneficial. I meet my Employment Consultant (Laura) on a weekly basis, with my line manager Jon Bolton. We are currently working on reducing my stress and anxiety using CBT techniques and have recently worked on a coping strategy with Jon in processing urgent requests – which in due course will be extended across the Insights Team.
Thanks to my line manager Jon and Laura from AS Mentoring, my confidence has improved considerably over the last few months. When I first started work in 2010, my job involved running very basic reports. I am now working on strategic projects such as FIRE. This involves providing insight on how Real time decisioning is performing, for our Existing Online customers. I am also fully integrated in the team and business working directly with stakeholders. I am excited about the Future of BT and I am hoping to work here, for many years to come.