King’s Ely’s Mentor Match Programme has been running for several years now and enables students to join forces with a professional in a field they are keen to pursue at university.
However, a recent campaign to involve a larger number of mentors has resulted in more Year 13 students than ever safely drawing on the knowledge and experience of professional graduates through the scheme.
Mentors include King’s Ely parents, King’s Ely alumni and friends of the school.
There are also professionals who have no ties to the school, but who want to support those preparing to embark on their future career paths.
Mentors come from a wide variety of fields, including medicine, law, business and academia, to name just a few.
One of King’s Ely’s new mentors is Monika Olanrewaju, who is an Architectural Designer at award-winning RIBA Chartered Practice, NP Architects in Cambridge.
Monika heard about Mentor Match through a member of staff at King’s Ely and having passed the necessary safeguarding assessments, she has been supporting Year 13 student, Gabe Boon, for the last twelve months.
Gabe, who joined King’s Ely Junior in Year 7, will be receiving his A Level results in a few weeks’ time and has received several conditional offers to study Architecture at University.
Monika, who holds a BArch, an MA in Typography and Graphic Design, and who is also a trained interior designer, said: "My first involvement with King’s Ely’s Mentor Match Programme was in 2021.
"I thought it looked like a great opportunity to help inspire and support the younger generation.
"Having contributed to successful internships in previous practices, I was keen to explore Mentor Match to expand my outreach and encourage students to pursue architectural education."
Gabe said: "Monika has guided me through the process of applying to University by providing resources to help me learn more about architecture as a profession.
"One of my most valuable lessons from Monika has been the way in which to approach art, which turned out to be any way.
"Before King’s Ely connected me with her, I had kept my artistic side mostly in the back seat and rarely practised it.
"However, within a few Teams meetings, Monika had encouraged me to experiment by drawing anything and everything, which significantly improved my ability and confidence.
"Most importantly, she helped me clarify a lot around the subject with general and specific questions, which has made me far more aware of architecture and its challenges.
"She was more than willing to share her expertise and experience with me, for which I am truly grateful."