Wednesday, 25 March 2015

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Sophy Willmott

FORMER teacher Sophy Willmott set up Education & Employment Mentoring Services South West at the beginning of 2014, providing a professional student mentoring service to individuals experiencing barriers towards their learning and engagement, which includes behavioural problems, mental health illness and special educational needs. The business is based in East Devon but Sophy hopes to expand further into West Dorset over the coming year. She is originally from Taunton and spent the first half of her childhood living in Somerset before her family moved to Devon. Apart from going to university, she has always lived in the South West and and currently resides in Axminster. 

WHY did you set up EEMS South West?
I am passionate to help young people find a direction and purpose within their lives and student mentoring provides this. I set up Education & Employment Mentoring Services at the beginning of 2014 and wanted to create a service which supports individuals who face barriers to their learning  and are at risk of becoming  a NEET (not in education, employment or training) learner.  

WHAT did you do before this?
I worked as a secondary teacher for five years eventually leading as a head of subject. I then took the opportunity to work within the further education sector and gain further experience working with NEET learners and as a student mentor across East Devon.  

WHAT services does EEMS South West offer? 
Student mentoring provides individuals with an opportunity to resolve the barriers they are currently experiencing towards their education. This is achieved by discussion, guidance and target setting,  working with the individual to find a purposeful career pathway.  Student mentoring also reaches those in secondary schools who need guidance, planning and tuition for their gcse exams.

WHAT do you enjoy about the job?
I thoroughly enjoy working with and helping young people. It is extremely rewarding watching individuals utilise their full potential and realise their abilities. 

DO you hope to expand the business in the future? 
Yes definitely, I would like many more students to have access to mentoring because it is so effective and the results can be life changing for many young people. Currently the service is accessed via secondary schools, care services and on a private basis and continues to attract different services, which is fantastic. 

WHAT are your personal interests?
I train weekly at a local swim club and spend any free time I have cycling and running with friends. I am aiming to complete a triathlon at some point this year, so excited about that. 

WHAT do you like about the local area?
I cannot imagine not living by the coastline especially in the summer time, as I spend a lot of time sea swimming. I also enjoy having access to local markets and produce, as I am always looking to eat and live as healthily as I can. 

WHAT do you think it’s missing?
I would very much like the youth service system to continue for young people locally. I think this is such a valuable service and further activity based services would enhance development for young people across the area. 

For further information about Education & Employment Mentoring Services South West, visit the website

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