We’re always looking for more helpers!
Helping young people learn to code is hugely rewarding. If you can offer your time for two hours at 5.30 pm on a Wednesday evening, we’d love to hear from you! Please drop us an email before showing up, so we know who to expect — hello [at] prewired [dot] org.
How We Work
Prewired is largely unstructured and our main goal is to support the young people in learning whatever it is they want to learn. So mentoring at Prewired consists mostly of wandering around a room full of budding hackers, answering questions, helping to fix bugs, and actively checking on the kids to make sure they’re happy and learning.
Any and all software and hardware skills are welcome! See What we do for more information.
From time to time we hold more structured workshops about a specific topic, and encourage all of the young people to get involved and learn something they might not otherwise have thought about. If you’d like to run a workshop we’d love to have you — just get in touch.
Certifications and qualifications
We work with the STEM East Ambassador Programme to organise PVG Disclosure for our mentors free of charge. All our mentors are required to obtain PVG Disclosure and we periodically arrange sessions with STEM East.
Currently volunteering at Prewired doesn’t qualify you for any specific awards (except for massive kudos and great experience and references for the CV). However, we’re interested in improving your experience however we can, so if you know of a scheme you think we’d fit into that will help you to earn something more, please let us know.
On your first day
The first time you come to a session, please introduce yourself to the Duty Mentor and remind them who you are and what topics you’re able to help with.
You’ll be asked to read our child protection policy and sign your acknowledgment that you have done so. You’ll also be asked to fill out your details for the mentors database so we can keep in touch with you and keep track of the skills we have around the room (you can ask us to remove you from this at any time, if you decide to stop coming).
Sometimes it can be hard to get stuck in, but we have some suggestions below in Mentor Guidelines.
You don’t need to come every week, but it’s helpful for the kids to have some consistency, so we’d love it if you could come as often as possible. If you do become a regular, please ask for an invite to the
#mentors channel on the Slack Prewired team — this is where we post announcements, etc. that might interest mentors and occasional reminders about sessions. You can also use this channel to chat to other mentors and ask questions.
Organising and outreach
If you’re interested in getting more involved in the organising side of things, let us know that too! If you have any specific qualifications, skills or experience (e.g., in education, child services, first-aid, accounting, …), don’t forget to mention that.
- Comply with our child protection policy.
- Be identifiable as a mentor (e.g., by wearing a lanyard).
- Provide us with up-to-date contact details if they wish to come regularly.
- Return borrowed mentor lanyards at the end of a session.
- Look out for kids with their hands up, and find out what they need.
- Check up on kids who appear to be playing games or staring blankly at a screen (or other forms of unproductivity). Nudge them into focusing by asking them what they’re working on; if they have some code, ask them to explain to you how it works, and what their aim is.
- Find another mentor who knows about the specific topic if you can’t help with something. Just ask around, but don’t leave a child with a question hanging.
- Help kids search the web for answers. Being able to look up information and understand how StackOverflow works is a valuable skill you can teach to someone!
- Answer parents’ questions to the best of your ability, but defer to one of the organisers if need be.
- Undergo training for the STEM Ambassador Programme, which includes PVG Disclosure. You are required to do this within three months of participating in Prewired as a regular volunteer.
- Do as the Duty Mentor says.
Mentors must not
- Share any food or drink with Prewired participants that has not been provided by Prewired.
- Encourage kids to communicate with them through any private channel such as email or ask them for any personal details.
- Stand around chatting between themselves for long periods. You can take the juice-break with everyone else, but remember you’re here to help the kids, not socialise! (We periodically arrange mentors parties for that!)