Mentor Spotlight: Keelie Wilcock

Hi everyone, I’m Keelie! I’m born and bred in Barnsley, a place well-known for a lot of brilliant things, but also some not so great!

In primary school, and at the beginning of secondary, I got good grades and always wanted to be involved with the opportunities the school provided. However midway through secondary school I started to struggle with a lot of internal issues, which centred around my home life. Because of this, I switched off at school and the good grades plummeted however by using various strategies I found ways of dealing with my anger and emotions to enable me to finish school back in the right frame of mind for learning.

Since school, I furthered my education and went to college and then onto university where I studied Mental Health Nursing. I also worked for the National Citizenship Service which is when I realised that I wanted to work full-time with young people who were having the same experiences and difficulties that I did. I wanted to be part of young people’s journeys to help them grow in themselves and develop the skills to be their best selves.

I now use the experiences I had to mentor and coach young people and I am proud to be a part of the most challenging times of their lives, helping them face the same issues as I did at school – not so long ago! I have a number of students who see me as their trusted adult and can therefore utilise our relationship to access crucial support. I have some students who ask for my help specifically when they are in crisis, and do not feel shy to seek me out whether that be in person, or via email. Often, teaching staff will ask me to start mentoring specific students and we can see the impact this has through student engagement and development in their lessons.

I love that in my role, I can work with students on a personal level, build important relationships that allow me to support them through difficult times, stressful situations and pick up on support they may need throughout their school experience.

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