Become a Mentor

Are you good at understanding teenagers and would like to give your time to a game changing program? 

Project Ready is always on the lookout for volunteers who have a passion for helping young people discover their self-worth, develop life and job skills and form career pathways.

Are 18 years plus, hold a current Working With Children card and willing to commit to half a day per week for at least two terms? Project Ready also welcomes student work placement applicants from courses such as youth work, community services, mental health and psychology.

Read the volunteer mentor position description for more information.

Your Role

Project Ready students often require additional support and direction to help them re-engage with their education and prepare for the future. A mentor’s role is to support the program facilitator and assist students with literacy, wellbeing, life coaching and career planning.

Project Ready groups are usually comprised of between 15 and 20 students who are mostly in years 10-12. These students are at the beginning of their vocational pathway, and at the stage when crucial decision making about their futures takes place. If you can remember what it was like to be 15, we’d love to hear from you!

Project Ready Pedagogy

Project Ready is big on ‘groupness’. Our mentors play a huge role in helping students feel part of a team, safe, connected and valued without fear of punishment, judgement or belittlement.

The following points are central to the Project Ready pedagogical approach:

It is recommended that Project Ready is delivered in an environment outside the school, such as a boardroom, community room or a large office space. This sends the message to students straight away that ‘this is different to school.

Group values, not rules 
The facilitator picks an appropriate time to ask the students how they want their sessions to run. This forms the basis of a group values agreement. 

Build Groupness
The bonding of the group will determine how safe and comfortable students feel amongst each other, and therefore how willing they are to share information and contribute to group discussions. The first unit of Project Ready is dedicated to building groupness.

Raise the bar
There are high expectations of students from the beginning of the program. Students treated like adults are more likely to behave like adults. This is reflected in venue chosen, the seating arrangements (circular), the way students are spoken to (use first names for educators) and the first projects students work on (and with whom).

Tell students what’s happening and ask for their input
Students want to be in control of their learning and what’s happening. Students should understand WHY they are doing the session and how it applies to their future. Students need to understand that the content is relevant and beneficial to them.

Be their coach
Project Ready takes a holistic, coaching approach to creating positive outcomes for students: welfare, wellbeing, student strengths, passions and pathways. The facilitator is the student’s mentor, guide and coach.

Take notes on each student
A good coach takes notes after each game about the performance of their players. Similarly, the facilitator must build thorough knowledge on each student in order to coach them in the best possible way. In order to deliver a student-led program, facilitators must get to know their students very well.

Know who to refer to 
As the program progresses, students may start to share information that needs to be referred to other staff within the school. This may include the careers teacher, the wellbeing team, the school nurse, the year level coordinator or special support teachers.

Hands-on & project based
The program content is highly experiential, interactive and hands on. It is delivered in a non-traditional way and removed from a typical classroom style of teaching. Students engage in activities, experiences and projects, hear from guest speakers, go on field trips, and then talk about the learnings.

Be inspiring 
The delivery of Project Ready should involve drama and passion. Students should feel motivated and inspired when they leave. Facilitators must be engaging and upbeat in their delivery, and serious when needed. Facilitators may even talk about their own personal experiences and show vulnerability.

Small wins and positivity 
The facilitator should focus heavily on flagging student achievements throughout the program. Frame feedback in a highly positive way. The Facilitator should aim to build students’ levels of self-respect through positive affirmation of their achievements.

What’s next
At the end of each Project Ready session, the facilitator should outline what students will be doing the following week. The Facilitator should ask for input as to how the session should run.

Pathways and options
Project Ready is built around helping students prepare for their futures. Throughout Project Ready, facilitators should talk a lot about pathway options for students including ‘next steps’ for students once they finish the program.

Give process praise
When giving praise to students, it is important to give ‘process praise’ rather than ‘person praise’. Process praise is a specific form of positive feedback that highlights the processes a student used to achieve an outcome.

How it works

Project Ready is generally run outside the school in a venue such as a boardroom, community room or large office space. This can help simulate an adult working environment and support community and industry involvement.

Project Ready spans the entire school year. Sessions run one day per week from about 9:00am – 2:30pm.
We ask that mentors and students on placement commit to a minimum of two terms.

Mentors and students on placement have access to a range of funded professional development opportunities including group work facilitation training, trauma informed education training and peer-to-peer support sessions. 

You need to be 18+ years of age, hold a current Working With Children card, love working with teenagers and be preapred to commit to a group for at least two terms.

Mentors and students on placement are insured by the LLEN for all Project Ready activities. They are covered by public liability insurance to the value of $20 million provided by VMIA. Here is a link to the policy: 

Facilitators and mentors are required to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to protect the intellectual property of the program.

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Ready to make a difference?

If you are interested in becoming a mentor or would just like to find out more about the program, please contact your Local Learning Employment Network (LLEN) or Lena Way, our program creator. Read the position description to find out more about the role.