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Employment Minister Esther McVey has congratulated the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, and Jobcentre Plus on the England-wide expansion of a free mentoring programme to help young jobseekers. The Steps Ahead Mentoring programme has been launched by the CIPD to provide young jobseekers with free one-to-one mentoring from a HR professional. Referred by Jobcentre Plus, young people (aged 18-24) are given the opportunity to be matched with a local volunteer who can help them develop their employability skills.

Across England over 1,500 CIPD volunteers have already helped hundreds of young jobseekers into work via the programme. Steps Ahead Mentoring offers young people, most of whom have never worked before, six mentoring sessions to help with a range of skills including CV writing, interview techniques and job hunting.

Minister for Employment, Esther McVey, said: “The number of young people in jobs is increasing and youth unemployment has been falling now for the last six months, but there is always more to do to ensure young people grow up knowing that they will have the opportunity to have a fulfilling career.

“Role models and mentoring are vital in showing young people the way forward so they can get their foot on the career ladder, so it is great news that the CIPD and Jobcentre Plus are working together to expand this scheme. I would like to thank all the volunteers involved for giving up their time to help young people secure their future.”

Also commenting, Katerina Rüdiger, Head of Skills and Policy Campaigns at the CIPD, said: “Young people are often at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job. A key issue is that many young people do not know what is expected of them during the recruitment process. One way to bridge that gap is to encourage those working in HR, who hold responsibility for the recruitment of new staff, to partner up with young jobseekers to help enlighten them about what employers look for.  Via the Steps Ahead Mentoring programme CIPD members have already helped hundreds of young jobseekers and we are keen to keep the momentum going and get more people into work.”

Dr. Karen Manby, a Steps Ahead mentor in Manchester, added: “I am a strong believer in the importance of work and care very much about helping young jobseekers in my local area. Having the opportunity to support a mentee, work through new ideas and watch their confidence grow was well worth the time invested. The experience has opened my eyes to the challenges many young people face when looking for work and I am proud to support the CIPD’s Steps Ahead Mentoring programme.”

Any young jobseekers keen to get themselves a mentor should speak to their local Jobcentre Plus adviser to find out more. Any CIPD members who want to volunteer to become a mentor can register via the CIPD website:

Steps Ahead Mentoring is part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme. This is an action-focused programme led by the CIPD to promote the role of employers and HR professionals in reducing youth unemployment. It falls within the CIPD charity objective to champion better work and working lives. Read more