I met up with my Councillor mentor in a café in the constituency he represents. I was very nervous at first but found him was very down to earth and made me feel very at ease. We had a good long chat where he explained to me how he got in to politics and how he has worked his way to be Councillor.
At our first meeting, my AM Mentor was very keen to know what I hoped to get from the Step Up Cymru scheme. I hoped that the mentoring and shadowing scheme would be a real opportunity to gain an insight into the policy making processes of Wales, and in particular I wanted to learn how small community and voluntary groups can engage effectively with politicians. Wales is a small country with an accessible government, but without an understanding of the way in which the Government and Assembly work opportunities to influence decision makers could easily be lost.
For our meeting my mentor and I made a list of preferred activities, with suggestions of future mentoring and role shadowing possibilities.
My first meeting with my Mentor has broken the ice, and we talked about me, who I am, why I’m interested in politics, and what he can offer me as a Mentor. We exchanged details and I was given his diary and info on how to arrange experiences. I was introduced to cabinet members and Council staff and made to feel at home. I left the meeting feeling very welcomed and raring to go.
We discussed what I expected from the scheme and what my mentor expected from me, ground rules were laid down about confidentiality and respect, this was due to the fact that I would be spending time in my Mentor’s office hearing matters of confidentiality regarding the issues she would be dealing with when we were together.