A Royal Free London staff  member has recently taken part in a new programme where she mentored a young colleague to successfully get her first role as a healthcare assistant in the trust.

The Young Enfield and Haringey (YEAH) Mentoring Programme sees young people aged 13-19 receive one-to-one mentoring with NHS staff, with the aim being to introduce them to the world of healthcare, the NHS and to gain valuable life skills.

There are currently nine mentors from RFH taking part in the programme, six from Barnet and Enfield and seven from North Middlesex Hospital.

Rochelle Bancey took part in the programme as a mentee, and says she needed direction during her last year of college.

“I felt like it was time to give myself another chance, so I applied for the programme,” she said. “I was hoping that by the end of the programme I would be in a better position than I was and that my dream would become a reality.”

Rochelle was matched with Elizabeth Nwandu, clinical research nurse (renal) at RFH, in December 2022.

“She has been an amazing help by providing useful advice, job sites and have frequent one-on-one meetings via phone call.

“During the programme, I learned how to become more independent, I came out of my comfort zone and put myself out there.”

In their discussions , Elizabeth learned that Rochelle was passionate about looking after children and babies and that she wanted to work towards becoming a midwife. She tasked Rochelle with visiting university websites and provided guidance on job applications and interview techniques.


Rochelle Bancey


When a position as a HCA arose at RFH, Elizabeth encouraged Rochelle submit an application and organise an informal visit with the hiring manager to ask questions and learn more about the role and department.

Following a successful interview process, Rochelle received the job offer and started working at RFH in June.

Speaking about her decision to sign to become a mentor, Elizabeth said she wanted to empower others to better themselves.

“Having worked across various areas in the trust I felt that I could offer insight for someone through the programme.

“I believe that if you empower one person in some small way, then they will go on to do the same for others.

“I would really recommend other staff members to take part. I know we all have work pressures and it might be difficult to find the time, but it is only three months and you can really help a young person achieve their goals.

Jennifer Leslie, community engagement officer at North Middlesex NHS trust, explained that when mentees apply, they are given the chance to note areas they are interested in improving or learning more about.

“They note three key areas they are interested in, which can range from confidence building to career pathways or simply how to be more organised,” she said.

“Mentors are provided with and must completed extensive mentoring training and all mentors are required to have an enhanced DBS clearance before they are matched with their mentee.”


Elizabeth Nwandu


During the first or second mentoring session between the mentor and mentee the mentee is asked to complete an assessment wheel on areas like career and money, ranking them on a scale from 0-6 (0 meaning the mentee is unhappy in this category, and 6 meaning they are very happy).

“Then on the second-to-last session, they re-do the assessment and they are often much happier or have worked with their mentor to establish tools to help them develop in their categories,” Jennifer said.

Younger people who may not yet know if they want to work in healthcare are still encouraged to apply for a mentoring placement on the programme.

“A young girl, for example, wanted to work on her confidence and ability to prioritise her workload, so her and her mentor came up with concepts and ideas to help with that, while another young lady was keen to gain confidence in interview techniques.”

The programme is also a great way to showcase the variety of roles in the NHS, Jennifer said.

“When young people think of the NHS they often only think of doctors and nurses and healthcare professionals.

“With this programme, we can show them that there are other  brilliant and rewarding roles in the NHS, such as IT, finance, HR, and communications.

“It can be incredibly rewarding for the mentor also, which has clearly been shown by Elizabeth and Rochelle’s experience," she finished.