Mentoring with NQT: giving two hours a month to change the life of a young graduate

Learn about "Nos Quartiers ont du Talent", an association which has helped over 60,000 young people from modest backgrounds into jobs and work-study contracts.


Nassim is nothing like the stereotype of a student who has no idea what he wants to do. Having already attended Simplon for training on big data, Nassim is passionate about computer development and was looking to finish his education at a school which would offer the most opportunities. The reason why Nassim looked for a mentor was not to decide what he wanted to do - his real problem was knowing how to do it.

            Through the NQT mentoring platform, he wrote to his recommended mentor on 16 October 2019, who suggested meeting the next day at La Défense. When he met Adil, Nassim was about to register for online courses, and his mentor immediately helped him to reconsider this choice in the medium and long-term. He encouraged him to look 5 to 10 years in the future, and to consider whether informal training was the best option compared to a master’s degree-equivalent, which would be much better perceived by French companies. The young man suddenly saw things in a different light and decided to enrol at a more traditional school.

Nassim’s journey has changed since then, and he pursued the work-study position he wanted. But he remains in regular contact with Adil, who has become a friend.

            Adil, Societe Generale employee, remembers hearing about NQT a long time ago, even before joining the Group. But he waited until 2019 to join the mentoring scheme.

I didn't feel ready yet to be a mentor”, he admits. “I was focused on my own development, growing personally and professionally. But the turning point was when I became a team manager, and I had a substantial budget to recruit young people. I came from a working-class neighbourhood and I loved the idea of being able to help these young people, being more open-minded and looking at every CV, without discriminating, regardless of background.  The problem was that these CVs didn’t exist... I barely received any CVs from people in these areas.”

So Adil asked himself lots of questions. Were they not even daring to apply? Were they holding back? Is it because he recruited a lot of graduates, whilst these profiles tended to leave education earlier?

I figured that perhaps there weren't enough people yet... but I told myself that working on mentoring was a great way to make a difference.”

Duo Mentor / young person NQT association

Duo Mentor / young person from NQT association

One young person, one mentor

For Thibaut Guilluy, High Commissioner for Employment and Company Engagement: mentoring is a way for a civic-minded company to open up opportunities for young people and effectively combat social determinism.

The government has set an ambitious target to have 100,000 young people complete the “One young person, one mentor” scheme by the end of 2021.

News which is music to the ears of an association like NQT, which has offered mentoring services for over 15 years, supporting over 60,000 young people during this period.

These young people tend to come from modest backgrounds, mostly working-class neighbourhoods or rural development areas”, explains Linda Sagodira, director of the NQT network. “They have managed to get an education against all odds, and our job is to give them an extra push with the help of our partner companies.”

An approach which has worked, as 70% of mentored young people enjoy a positive outcome, finding a job matching their skill set within 6 months.

We halve the time they spend looking for a job”, she explains cheerfully.

But NQT has reached a new stage in its history. For nearly 15 years, the association actively recruited students. In 2020, the situation has flipped: they now have more students than mentors.

We have seen an upsurge in young people joining the NQT scheme”, comments Linda Sagodira. “We need to be able to support them and we need lots of mentors to be able to help these young people.”

If I had just one message to pass on... Just 2-3 hours a month is enough to change the life of a young graduate. The process doesn't take up as much time as people might think.

Linda Sagodira, director of the NQT network.

Another major argument supporting mentoring is a study conducted by Kimso, which showed that 85% of mentors felt proud of their company’s involvement.The study also revealed that 8% of young people are hired by the company where they were mentored.

This wasn’t the association’s original intention at all”, explains Adil. But sometimes, it just happens... like with Nassim, who Adil saw make so much progress that he helped to distribute his CV within the company. The young man is now a Data Engineer at Societe Generale.

How about you: would you be willing to give a few hours a month to change the life of a young graduate?



Copyright : @NQT