National online mentoring scheme to boost academic success and career confidence.

 A current and former student at an Exeter state school have won prestigious awards in a national  online mentoring scheme to boost academic success and career confidence.

Kaydie Hicks, a student at St James School, and alumna Alli German, who works in public administration for Devon County Council, won the Third Sector Mentee of the Year award, sponsored by Total Professions, and Industry Mentor of the Year award, sponsored by Harper Adams University, respectively at the Brightside Online Mentoring Awards.

The two linked up together under a scheme run by the national education charity Future First in partnership with online mentoring charity Brightside, which enables schools to harness the talents of their alumni through state ‘old school tie’ networks.

They worked together via Brightside’s website every week establishing routine and consistency in both pastoral and academic support and met for the first time at the awards ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects.

St James in Summer Lane used the mentoring scheme to target students who may otherwise not have reached their potential to motivate and inspire them to work harder as well as to provide revision and study tips. The scheme reaffirms the importance of personal relationships in boosting students’ confidence to pursue options they may not have considered as being open to them.

During the mentoring, Kaydie’s grades improved and she became more focussed on exams and plans for her future.

Kaydie changed her mind about going into public services after talking to Alli. Realising she enjoyed looking after her younger siblings Kaydie opted for health and social care instead. She now wants to become a mentor herself.

“I think before I was not looking forward to college but Alli made me realise it will help a lot,” she said. “Alli made me a better person. If it wasn’t for online mentoring I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to tell students how online mentoring helped me and remind them that there is someone out there who will listen to you.”

Alli, who left St James in 1981, is one of 100,000 former state students registered with Future First to support their old school.

She said, “It’s great that Kaydie is now so confident in herself. She knew what she wanted to do and what direction she wanted to go in and to see that come out of someone who had no confidence when she started was the best thing ever for me.”

Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First, said, “It shows how effective having someone from outside school who students can really relate to can be in boosting student confidence as well as providing first hand advice. We want every young person to have the inspiration they need to get to where they want to be in life.” 

Brightside Chief Executive Anand Shukla said, “We’re really proud to present the awards to Kaydie and Alli. Although Brightside’s mentoring takes place online, Kaydie and Alli’s inspirational story shows that it’s the human connection at the heart of it that really makes it work. Brightside is dedicated to helping young people achieve their full potential, and the commitment both Alli and Kaydie have demonstrated and their well-deserved success prove that mentoring can really change people’s lives.”


Future First works in 400 state schools and colleges from Plymouth to Glasgow. As well as mentors and e-mentors, alumni act as career and education role models, work experience providers, governors, fundraisers and donors.

For further information on Future First or to register a school/college or as an alumni visit or contact Future First Press Officer Sue Crabtree on, Director or Operations Melanie Robinson on or call one of the team on 0207 239 8933.

Brightside is a charity that provides young people that need it most with knowledge, support and connections so that they can make confident and informed decisions that enable them to fulfil their potential. Brightside currently works with over 60 organisations to support more than 15,000 young people a year with online mentoring.

For further information on Brightside visit www. or contact Paul Clarke on 0207 922 7796

About the sponsors

Total Professions brings together professional bodies to offer an invaluable resource for anyone choosing a professional career. See more at

Harper Adams University is the UK’s leading specialist in agriculture and land-based studies, winning both the THE Leadership and Management Award for ‘Outstanding International Strategy’ and the WhatUni Student Choice Award for ‘Student Support’ in 2015.


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