June 22, 2015 in Events (live blogging), CIPD NAP 2015

#cipdnap15 – How HR can help prepare the next generation for work

Rachel Lloyd @_relloyd CIPD

Rachel opened by looking at the state of youth unemployment 3 years ago (at its peak), with massive youth unemployment. Given that the CIPD is all about championing better work and working lives, helping young people start in employment is a very important factor.

The Learning to Work research led to two CIPD initiatives:

Inspiring the future. CIPD supports this initiative and gets HR professionals into schools to delver one-off CV & interview advice sessions. The initiative has produced really positive results for young people, and it was interesting to see that the volunteers had gained significant benefits. More information: www.cipd.co.uk/inspiringfuture

Steps Ahead Mentoring is aimed at young jobseekers (aged 18-24) and it is a free national programme where HR professionals (CIPD members only) provide face-to-face mentoring for young jobseekers in the area. Mentors are recruited by CIPD and young people are referred primarily by JobCentre Plus (along with some other partners). Mentors match themselves with up to 3 menses in their local area. A mentoring relationship typically involves 6 face-to-face sessions (e.g. on CV, interview, job search, and employability skills).

60% of the mentees are postgraduates
25% are looking for careers advice and guidance
20% want help with their job search
15% want help with a job application process

Rachel shared some very positive case studies. For example, even good A-levels and a good degree is no guarantee of a job. Some confidence-boosting help is a great help to a young person in getting a job. Job centres can offer generic workshops, but this 1:1 help makes a huge difference. Sometimes, the smallest of things can make a difference – such as learning how to make small-talk.

There are loads of benefits for the volunteers, including developing expertise, helping unlock potential and motivation, understand the challenges that young people face, and create positive social change and impact. (See also the CIPD report on volunteering to learn).

2,700 mentors and mentees are signed up and there are over 1,000 matched mentor-mentee relationships and 7 out of 10 young people move into employment. 93% of mentees would recommend the mentoring to other young people.

The case studies are inspiring, with mentees talking about how Steps Ahead Mentoring “.. turned my life around. It gave me my first role as a HR administrator.” and how “… a mock interview was tough, but more helpful than I could have imagined.”.

What does the future hold for Steps Ahead Mentoring? Whilst young people will always continue as a focus, CIPD are running pilots with people aged 50+ and women returners to work, and might look at working with ex-armed forces personnel in the future. The aim for the future: a world-class mentoring offer and a movement of HR volunteers.

If you are a CIPD member, please get involved by registering on the Steps Ahead page.

You can also connect on Twitter – @StepsAhead – or email mentoring@cipd.co.uk

As HR professionals, we have a lot of skills that can make a huge positive difference to young people. Let’s use those skills to positive effect.


(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD Northern Area Partnership Conference 2015 in York – #cipdnap15 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)

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