Young IOEE mentor is wise beyond his years

David Williams is an IOEE enterprise mentor who recently established an Enterprise Mentoring relationship with mentee Barbara Govan and her award winning independent TV production and training company, Screenhouse, despite being just 25 years old. We caught up with David to find out why age is no barrier to mentoring success.

Leeds-based David Williams works as a Business Analyst for Lloyds Banking Group, in a team called Group Change Management. It is a role that involves working on cross-Group initiatives with the ultimate aim of helping to deliver strategic goals, as he outlines:

“An area of the bank may want to improve the efficiency of a system or need to deliver a change activity and requires extra or specialist resource to help achieve this. Wherever they’re based in the UK, they can call on Group Change Management to help them deliver projects and programmes by providing specialist resources. We’re like a hub on a bike wheel and the different banking divisions are the spokes.”

Having left school at 18, David undertook a trainee management scheme with Lloyds, gaining experience as a customer advisor and in meeting customer needs in the Branch Network. Two years later he applied internally to become a project management apprentice, which saw him complete a Higher Diploma Level 4 Apprenticeship in Project Management. This in turn led to promotion and his current role. David is an ambitious young person and when he first joined his current department he was assigned a ‘buddy’, who is in effect a mentor tasked with helping a less experience staff member find their feet, as he explains:

“My buddy helped me become familiar with the team, what everyone does and the key differences between working in branch and working for the bank’s head office function. Over time, as well as having a buddy, my professional network grew. I met people and developed mentoring relationships with individuals who I could ask about how they got to where they were and whether they could help me through this learning period in my professional life.”

Working through decisions with these casual mentors, David grew his own experience, confidence and knowledge. He began to wonder whether he could in turn offer some support to a mentee of his own. He started out by guiding those coming through the apprentice route behind him:

“When I completed my own apprenticeship I became an Apprentice Ambassador, mentoring junior colleagues and apprentices, and sharing my experiences with them.”

David found he enjoyed this role as he mentored new staff on everything from time management to public speaking. He says:

“It was fascinating and I have always enjoyed working with different people. A year into this mentoring role I decided to push myself a bit further, which is when one of my own mentors suggested that I do the IOEE’s enterprise mentor training, which was very comprehensive and helped me develop a number of key skills, including listening and communication skills.”

Having completed the IOEE’s day-long Level 3 Award in Enterprise Mentoring course in London, David began working with Paul Harper, his IOEE mentoring manager. Soon, Paul had matched David with his first mentee – Barbara Govan who has been running the award winning independent TV production and training company for a quarter of a century. David and Barbara had their first meeting in a café-bar called The Reliance in Leeds just four weeks after his enterprise mentor training was completed, using this time to get to know each other. David says:

“Barbara had had a mentor previously who had moved away so she was looking to continue that support with someone new.”

Barbara’s company,, has made a number of documentaries for mainstream television, with the company currently focusing their factual TV production on one of the nation’s most popular primetime topical news shows. When the pair met, Screenhouse was going through a period of flux, as David explains:

“Barbara was looking for someone to talk things through with and share ideas with. Her company has been going through some significant changes, taking on different types of work. Over time, the mentoring will help refocus and reprioritise. I have minimal knowledge of Barbara’s work or industry, so in early discussions I had to really pause and think about how I could start to guide her to get the most from her skills and current situation. Enterprise mentoring is very different from my in-work mentoring where I can say ‘I once did x and it worked.’ My early Enterprise Mentoring experience with Barbara has given me an entirely different view of things.”

Moving forward, David and Barbara intend to meet up every month with short calls and email correspondence to stay in touch in between face-to-face sessions. Together, they plan to identify new areas to explore, and push Screenhouse into new territory, refreshing the direction in which the business may go whilst exploring Digital avenues. David says:

“It’s a very well-established business with lots of work coming in but this is a time of change and I will utilise my role as Enterprise Mentor to help with that. This experience has made me want to do more mentoring. At work I currently have two apprentice mentees and one non-apprentice mentee. With my Enterprise Mentoring I would like to establish two or three mentoring relationships over the coming months both because it’s fascinating and because I’d like to stretch my own personal abilities beyond my everyday professional life.”