Get Involved… as a Mentor

The purpose of the SWV Mentoring Scheme

Following the Ski Week, all SWV veterans are offered individual mentoring support.   Each veteran is paired with either a business or personal mentor who helps identify goals and develop personal and professional skills for the mentee.  The mentor, who has taken part in SWV’s mentor training scheme, may offer help with retraining, career change, setting up a business, or returning to employment.  Alternatively, the mentor’s help might centre on housing or lifestyle issues, or maybe simply getting a medication review. At each step, the mentor’s objective is to work towards a secure and fulfilling future for the veteran.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What qualification / skills do i need?

Our One Year mentoring contract on the SWV Mentoring Scheme is open to individuals who:

  • Are enthusiastic about being a mentor
  • Feel able to help people move on to a new phase in their lives
  • Are willing and able to fulfill the required time and energy commitments.
  • Business mentors can be from diverse and all business sectors

Mentors should have the following skills and abilities:

  • Experience of supporting others through periods of personal change
  • Active listening skills
  • Ability to be non-judgemental
  • Ability to work within confidentiality
  • Assertion skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to show empathy
  • Ability to be objective
  • Are self-aware and reflective
Will I get paid?

No, sorry all our mentors are volunteers.

You will be offered travel expenses when you have to meet your mentee face to face, so that you are not out of pocket.

You will be offered the SWV Mentoring Training Programme at no cost.

How long do I mentor for?

The contract with each veteran (mentee) is for one year.
We allow 4 -6 face to face meetings at agreed times between the mentor/mentee
and 12 calls/skype calls
If you are both happy to continue after that for a fixed term, then you can.
If the mentee has acheived his/her aims ie found employment, entered into education or changed their lifestyle to such an extent and no longer needs mentor support then the contract can be terminated.

What type of support do you give mentors?

There is an initial training programme, and when that is completed and you have been given a mentee, you will be supervised by a Mentoring Scheme Coordinator who is there to ensure the aims of the programme are being met, by both mentor and mentee

Become a Mentor

If you’d like to be involved in our Mentoring Scheme as a mentor, please fill in the form below and press submit.

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Gareth F

 (Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, attached to 39 Royal Artillery) attended the first SWV SwH week in March 2013, he was injured in Afghanistan and up until the ski week had spent much of his time in a wheelchair – he learnt to ski in a sit ski, on returning home he went back to applying for work (he had previously applied for 100’s of jobs and heard nothing back).    

To help him along, Gareth was employed by one of the SWV SwH Committee members, who also arranged for him to see a pain management specialist – Gareth then went on to successfully find himself a job near home (Belfast, NI) and was then headhunted for a job that took him to running a Multinational Force power plant in Egypt (he started in autumn 2014 and finished December 2015).

During his time in Egypt Gareth stopped using the walking stick and became medication free.

Prior to the completion of the Multinational Force contract he contacted SWV SwH Occupation/Training/Employment (OTE) Programme and asked for some support with the hunt for the next job, after successful interviews with a number of companies in the Aviation, Engineering and Construction fields – Gareth took the decision to enter the FDM Graduate Project Management Programme and is now working as a Project Manager at Barclays. 

Gareth is about to train as a SWV SwH Mentor and will be allocated to mentor one of the veterans who attend the 2017 ski week. 

Gareth also took part in the 2nd SWV SwH Business Challenge in Klosters – competing in a sit ski, he has proven to be an exemplary example of how SWV SwH works – when asked to describe his SWV SwH experience to date

“Excellent, couldn’t ask for a better extended family, they have changed everything that was bad, and I am back to normal – NO, in fact, I am a better person, and am sure they can continue to make me an even better person”

Gareth F, veteran 2013

Paul Twaites

Paul spent nine years as a navy medic attached to the Royal Marines.  His service included tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and in 2007 he was involved in the front line rescue of countless severely wounded servicemen.   “I can see now that the person I was when I came back from that tour was completely different to the person I was before,” he says.

Paul, who is divorced and has a 19-year-old son, left the Navy in 2009 and joined the police force in his home county of Gloucestershire.   Outwardly, he appeared to be fine, but inwardly, he was struggling with nightmares, flashbacks, low moods and explosive outbursts.

Things came to a head three years ago when Paul was called to a pub fracas while on police duty, and ended up in hospital with spinal and neck injuries after being seriously assaulted.    The attack triggered full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder which therapists have since confirmed relates back to the traumas he witnessed in Afghanistan.

Paul came to Supporting Wounded Veterans directly from Tedworth House, a recovery centre in Wiltshire run by Help for Heroes.   He had been off work for six months, was speaking with a severe stammer and could only sleep at night with heavy doses of sleeping tablets.

Within two days of being in Klosters, his outlook had been transformed.   “I realised I am not alone and forgotten,” he says.  Paul was already a competent skier, but he had felt isolated by his illness.   “Being with others who could empathise with my experience and seeing how they were coping gave me the inspiration to get my own life back.”  By the end of the week, his stammer had diminished and he felt confident enough to stand before the 70-strong SWV party to give Gilly a public vote of thanks.   Since returning to the UK, he has returned to work part time and taken part in the Invictus Games, winning silver and bronze medals in archery.

Paul Twaites, veteran 2014

Anna Maxwell

Anna’s 12 years’ army service included two tours of Iraq, but she sustained her life-changing injury away from a war zone as a Combined Services candidate for the British bobsleigh team at the Winter Olympics.

Anna, a former captain in the Adjutant General Corps, seriously damaged her leg as she sped downhill at 70 mph while training in Latvia in 2005 after her foot hit a small block of ice. “Basically my left leg went left, and the rest of me went straight on,” she says.  She underwent multiple operations and lengthy rehabilitation treatment at Headley Court, all of which failed to prevent her becoming confined to a wheelchair.   By 2009, she found herself poleaxed by a deep depression.   “I was on a cocktail of medication for the pain, struggling to function and feeling as though life was slipping away from me.”

Finally, in 2011, Anna had an elective through-the-knee amputation.  “My depression lifted instantly and I realised that what disables me – having only one leg – is also the very thing that enables me.”   Within months, she was not just walking, but skiing on her new prosthetic leg.

Anna, 39, was medically discharged from the army in 2012.   The same year, she met her husband Ollie, a car mechanic, and they now live on Exmoor.

She took part in the 2014 Ski Week, knowing that on her return, she would have to undergo further surgery because of nerve damage to her leg.

“The trip was awesome,” she says. “How can you not smile when you are in the mountains with sunshine and beautiful panoramas?” But even more valuable to Anna than enjoying week’s skiing was the support she received following her return from Klosters.   SWV arranged for her to be mentored through recovery by Jane Durgan, a former solicitor who is also a lifelong amputee not through injury, but because of a congenital condition.  “She completely understands my frustrations, because she has lived with them herself.  And she constantly reminds me that it’s possible to be an amputee and live a full life,” says Anna.  “I don’t need professional support at the moment, but having Jane’s shoulder to lean on has been invaluable.”

Anna, veteran 2014