How to pioneer a Health Mentor training programme for future generations

Evolve’s unique Health Mentor training programme, run in partnership with Newman University in Birmingham, is already having a positive impact in schools, just one term after its launch.
The Level 4 Short Course, worth 60 university credits, is an innovative staff training programme designed to enhance the delivery of Health Mentors within primary and secondary schools across the UK. The current and first cohort of 24 Health Mentors are based in London, Yorkshire, Nottingham, Lincolnshire and the West Midlands.
Over 12 months of part-time study the students attend 12 taught days and complete six assignments. Through a range of theoretical lessons and practical application the students acquire knowledge and skills in mentoring, physical activity, lunchtime animation and extracurricular activities. Their training is tailored to support the effective delivery of the Evolve Project HE:RO programme in their schools.
Evolve’s Regional Manager for Coventry, Kat Watkin, is leading the development of the Level 4 course and delivering the programme alongside MD John Bishop, Operations Manager Ashley Burd and Birmingham Regional Manager Amie Richards.
Evolve Kat WatkinsKat (pictured left), who is also studying for a Postgraduate Certificate (Level 7) in Higher Education with Newman University, said: “I was previously a Health Mentor and this experience has not only enabled me to plan the content and topics for the sessions, but also to assess the benefits to Health Mentors and the pupils they work with. Our main aim is to transform children’s lives and through accredited staff training this objective is being accelerated.”
Evolve has plans to develop this course further by offering it on a wider basis to individuals in other sectors, including teaching assistants, lunchtime supervisors, sports coaches, university students and hospital staff.
Kat added: “The ultimate aim is to create a full degree programme for Health Mentors, with progression routes into teaching and other careers.”
For course attendee and Health Mentor Dave Hamer, the training programme is having huge benefits in his new role at Firs Primary School in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.
Dave said: “I am doing well at learning and developing my skills whilst I am shadowing and being hands-on in school, but the course is helping me understand the theories of learning the job and is supporting me for my assignments.”
Firs Primary School’s Learning Mentor, Lisa Moon, called Dave an asset to the school. “Dave’s training sessions are obviously benefiting both him and Firs, and I am positive that he will excel in all areas of his course,” she added.
“Dave is a valued member of staff. Although he has only been with our school since September, he has slotted straight in, right from the word go, with both children and staff.”
Kat is excited to see how other Health Mentors can use their experiences on the Health Mentor training programme to have a greater impact on the children and staff they work closely with.
For more information about the Health Mentor Training Programme, please email Kat Watkin at kat@evolvesi.com.