To mark International Women’s Day 2018, women in leadership positions at Edinburgh College are pledging to give their time to help women fulfil their potential as part of the First Mentor initiative.
The joint initiative between the Scottish Government and Young Scot, introduced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last year, aims to encourage a new generation of women leaders through sharing stories and experiences and helping women to focus on their ambitions.
Head of Tourism, Hospitality and Business Sarah-Jane Linton is leading the way at Edinburgh College and has been mentoring 21-year-old Alicia Santana over the past year.
Sarah-Jane met care-experienced Alicia through her role on the board of Who Cares? Scotland and consequently discovered that she was a former Music student of the college. The two bonded over their love of music and Sarah-Jane invited Alicia along to an event hosted by the Scottish Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society – an organisation of senior teachers and educationalists in Scotland, to talk about her experience of school and college as a child in care. At the end of her talk Alicia wowed the audience with a rendition of her composition ‘Home’ which she had previously performed for the First Minister as part of the 1,000 Voices campaign at the launch into the review of the care system in Scotland.
Sarah-Jane mentored and encouraged Alicia through her application to study Music at Edinburgh Napier University and, since beginning her degree in September 2017, Alicia meets regularly with Sarah-Jane to get advice and guidance on her studies and life.
Alicia said: “Before I met Sarah-Jane I was apprehensive about applying to university as I didn’t think I would get through the audition. She has done so much for me in terms of helping to build my confidence and her encouragement has enabled me to get to where I am today. She is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met and does so much for people. I’m really proud to know her.”
Sarah-Jane said: “Mentoring Alicia is a wonderful pleasure and a role I’m very proud and grateful to undertake. I am extremely proud of her. She is a wonderful ambassador for the college and has also become a brilliant ear for me too. I am a foster parent to three teenage boys and she often listens and advises me on their needs with her unique, shared experience of life in care. Mentoring is a wonderful gift and one I believe all women should offer to other aspiring women.
“I would positively encourage my female peers to consider mentoring. It’s incumbent on every woman to ensure they pave the way for other women to follow and one day lead.”