Offer that Tim could not refuse

Tim Ilett first heard of mentoring when he bumped into his former geography teacher at a business breakfast. By then Jeff Offer was a manager of Bedfordshire Education Business Partnership, while Tim had become director of a fleet car company. Tim realised mentoring might be a way he could give something back to education.

He was matched up with Terry Skinner, 15, from Hitchmead School in Biggleswade for children with moderate learning difficulties.

The pair began meeting once or twice a month for informal chats. Mary Whitehead, who co-ordinates the scheme at Hitchmead, thought that Tim might be able to help Terry focus on what he wanted to do when he left school.

Terry loves football (he's a Chelsea fan) only knew that he wanted to work outdoors with his hands. Tim put the two things together and arranged for them both to visit Luton Town Football Club to see the ground staff at work and to watch a match.

Terry had a great day out and went home with a clearer idea of his ideal job. He's now hoping to fix up some work experience with a local sports club.

Meanwhile, his performance in the classroom has improved drastically. "Tim makes me more confident to speak up in class and my writing is better," said Terry.

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