'My mentoring journey with Liam quickly became much more than me volunteering my time.'

'My mentoring journey with Liam quickly became much more than me volunteering my time.'

This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), we’re hearing directly from some of our amazing volunteers about how they support Shelter and why their role matters to them.

People choose to volunteer for a host of reasons, for some, it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference around them, for others it provides the opportunity to develop new skills, experience or knowledge. For me, volunteering with Shelter was about genuinely connecting with their mission and wanting to offer my help wherever I could.

Working at The Adecco Group as a Recruiter, I’ve supported people with their career searches for the last 10 years. This combined with first-hand experience of how unemployment can have a significant knock-on effect on an individual’s ability to maintain a roof over their head, I was keen to offer my skills around employability to Shelter.


Shelter’s GROW programme (Getting Real Opportunities of Work) is an inspiring initiative Shelter offers to provide a 12-month paid traineeship to individuals with lived experience of homelessness and bad housing. The programme seeks to enhance the skills of the trainees and to ultimately prepare them for their journey into permanent employment. I’ve recently been lucky enough to get involved in this programme by mentoring one of last year’s GROW trainees, Liam.

Mentoring Liam

It was evident from our very first conversation that Liam had strong skills in relationship building, professional tenacity, and customer engagement. He immediately demonstrated an eagerness to give back to a cause close to his heart and apply his skills within an environment that he could make a demonstrable difference. As our interactions progressed, I had the opportunity to learn more about Liam’s story and how he held an innate drive to share his life experiences with others facing similar challenges. Although there was no doubt Liam had the knowledge and skills to secure employment, together we recognised that his significant career gap and a lack of exposure to the job market could prove a barrier.

Over the course of a few months, Liam and I explored his job search through our mentoring sessions. We got to know one another, agreed on our anticipated outcomes, and set our expectations. We drew up a list of target employers and the types of roles he would be applying for. Off the back of Liam’s own job search, I was then able to offer advice and guidance about how best to approach his applications and interviews.

Once Liam reached his interview stage, the focus of our sessions turned to confidence-building and how best to draw on the most relevant skills and experiences for each question. I’m thrilled to say that it wasn’t long before Liam secured his dream role as a Complex Needs Worker with St Mungo’s. Here he is providing fundamental support to individuals experiencing complex needs such as rough sleeping, mental health challenges and addiction.

My mentoring journey with Liam quickly became much more than me volunteering my time. What I was able to teach Liam about employability was no comparison to what he has taught me about facing adversity and giving back regardless of the hand life has dealt you. I hope to continue my volunteering with Shelter through driving our partnership and inspiring others to get involved.

The Adecco Group & Shelter partnership

The Adecco Group’s partnership with Shelter centres around working together to create sustainable work for all. We are proud to sponsor the GROW programme and this year we’ll be providing mentors to each GROW trainee for the 12 months of their programme. We are committed to using our employability skills as well as market links to replicate Liam’s success and support all trainees on their journey into work. To hear more about how you can get involved in this programme please contact holly.kennedy@adecco.co.uk

To find out more about corporate partnerships at Shelter and our corporate volunteering portfolio, contact corporate@shelter.org.uk – we’d love to hear from you. We exist to defend the right to a safe home. We’ll never give up because we believe home is everything.