The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 44

The mentors’ panel
Nicky Bicket
(1973F) is
secretary of the
UK branch of the
ODU and director of the ODU’s
mentorship programme. After
a long career in supermarketing
and financial services, he now
consults in the areas of strategy
and organisational effectiveness.
In 2019 he was asked to coordinate
the ODU’s new five-year strategy
(see p82).
is considered increasingly
valuable by educators in today’s
world – a world that overflows
with information and choices
but lacks certainty and (obvious)
opportunity, and often fails to equip
youngsters with the knowledge and
skills to build meaningful face-toface relationships.
Few ODs, and perhaps people in
general, can have spent as much
time as Robin Cox investigating
the value of mentorship. He notes
the widely held opinion in his field
that “the need for mentoring will
increase as we move further into
the 21st century and the workplace/
economy becomes more diverse”.
In his experience, the modules
he teaches on conflict resolution,
resilience and goal-setting have
been particularly well received
over the years by volunteer adult
mentors and educators. These
mentoring skills are important
in a cross-cultural world more
reliant on relationships and
collaboration than ever before.
(See “Modern Education”, Issue 4.)
Nicky observes that one of the
most challenging life transitions
is from school to university, a leap
that appears to be getting harder
if the many campus controversies
Robin Cox (1972G)
taught for 40 years
in South Africa and
Australasia, and has
become an authority on mentorship.
He has trained over 1,000 volunteer
adult mentors, and his latest book
7 Key Qualities of Effective Teachers
was published in January (see p65).
His US publisher will be releasing
his new book, Mentoring Minutes:
312 daily messages to inspire anyone
working with youth, later in the year.
around the world are anything
to go by. “The competitive nature
of work and generally adapting to
life after school is tough,” he says.
“Young alumni discover that,
without some support, chances
of success are much lower.”
Nicky points out that there is an
increasing number of initiatives in
place to assist in the transition. For
example, prominent UK universities
such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol,
Durham and Edinburgh have seen
the introduction of “buddy systems”,
where first-years from a certain
school are paired with and
supported by final-year or postgraduate alumni from the same
school at that university. The results
have reportedly been spectacular.
Robin believes one way to assess
whether or not Bishops prepares
students well for the world beyond
school is to survey all school
leavers to see if they understand
the importance of mentoring and
the processes involved, and have
the competence to take the spirit
of mentoring beyond school.
Robin supports the OD mentoring
programme as an important
strategy to make sure young ODs
transition positively into university,
further training or the workplace.
As captain of a
standout Bishops
1st XV, Hilton
Houghton (1992F)
had a promising professional rugby
career that, surprisingly to many,
came to nothing. He eventually
established himself as a rugby
agent representing some of the
most prominent names in the game.
Mentorship – noticeably lacking in
his post-school life – is a key part
of his job description. (See p38.)
The experience of Hilton
Houghton, one of the top
professional rugby managers
in South Africa (just profiled),
is illustrative of the effect and
importance of mentoring,
especially for young sportsmen.
A gifted schoolboy rugby player,
Hilton had been earmarked by
many for success at senior level.
But he admits to “cocking up” his
career after school and turning his
back on gilt-edged opportunities.
“Privilege and a sense of
entitlement can be limiting in
some ways,” he says, recalling
his school days. “I will always be
grateful for my time at Bishops,
but the fact is things came too
easily to me there. It was home. It
wasn’t difficult to get into the 1st
XV; it wasn’t difficult to do the
things I wanted to do. I learnt so
much from the teachers I admired,
and I was treated like an adult. But
I did develop a sense of arrogance
and entitlement – and that’s what
needed to be knocked out of me.
“On my last day at Bishops,
after matric, Basil Bey walked me
around the Piley Rees and asked
about my rugby plans. He knew
I was mischievous and lacking in
discipline, and he told me straight

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