Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham wants younger generations to mentor their elders in the ways of the technological world.
Mentoring traditionally describes the process of helping someone more inexperienced than yourself on their journey – effectively learning from the mistakes of those who have been there and done it before.
Speaking ahead of National Mentoring Day on Friday October 27th, Burnham told BusinessCloud that mentoring works both ways these days.
“It is starting to work the other way as society changes through technology,” he said.
“Maybe there’s a role for younger people helping older people get themselves into the online world and social media.
“I want to promote an age-friendly Greater Manchester where we don’t look at older people as a burden upon society but for the contribution they can make – and in this day and age they need to be in the online world to be part of that conversation.”
National Mentoring Day is a worldwide initiative launched by Chelsey Baker, a marketing expert, author and mentor, to encourage and celebrate mentoring in all its forms.
As Burnham acknowledged, mentoring isn’t restricted to business – for example, a first-time parent might benefit from the expertise of others.
“Mentoring is giving people that steer, a helping hand as they make their way in the world,” he said. “The world has become more difficult to navigate.
“Mentoring doesn’t always have to be done face to face. It might just be someone to FaceTime or exchange a message with.
“It can change your mood if you’re in a bit of a dark place – picking up the phone and getting a different perspective can help.”
Naming his own political mentors as former Home Secretary David Blunkett and Paul Goggins, who was MP for Wythenshaw and Sale East when he died unexpectedly in 2014, Burnham outlined his vision for mentoring in the city region.
“GM Bridge is our emerging mentoring offer: we take volunteers and match them with young people who need support and coaching to make a success of themselves in the workplace,” he said.
“We want to build a culture where people are encouraged to give back. It’s very much in tune with the spirit of this place – people don’t just take what they can get.
“We’ve not made it easy enough yet for people to come forward and be mentors – and then to match them with people who can most benefit from their skills and experience.”
In a previous interview with BusinessCloud, Burnham backed the Tech Manchester mentoring programme.
Business Growth Hub has also launched GREATer Manchester Mentoring today – a steering group bringing together mentoring leaders to accelerate business mentoring across Greater Manchester.