A REDDITCH business leader is spearheading a mentor programme to inspire the next generation of business talent in the town.

Simon Hyde, chief executive of Redditch based waste management company Faun Zoeller UK, has launched a scheme called Power Up.

The programme sees a mix of senior business people and educationalists in Redditch volunteer their time to mentor school children and young people, to encourage them to consider a career in business.

Simon Hyde said: “Without mentoring it will be very difficult to attract new talent to businesses. We need to find the stars of the future, but it is vital to start doing something now. Young people in education are not showing enough interest in the business world. I was lucky when I was young – I had two brilliant mentors, without whom I wouldn’t be in the job I do today.

“Some people think that mentoring is about being a nurse-maid and looking after young people. That is not true: it is actually about getting young people motivated, increasing their confidence and ensuring they are resilient. Some have become too sheltered and leave everything to their parents.

"That doesn’t work in the business world where pressure, competition and accountability are the main drivers. As mentors we have to switch them on so they can find their own energy.”

Members of Power Up encourage students to visit their companies and hold talks in schools in Redditch.

Louise Laxton, a senior teacher who heads up the careers advice and counsellor department at Trinity High School & Sixth Form Centre is backing the scheme.

She said: “In the past business has not helped itself by giving contact with education a low priority. There has been a lack of effort which has created an image problem. But Power Up will help inspire pupils who lack motivation because they don’t know where to start.”