On 3 October, Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, was joined by the CIPD’s Chief Community Officer, Katerina Rudiger and two of CIPD’s volunteer Steps Ahead Ambassadors and mentors, Kenye Karemo and Michael Wilkins, on a visit to her local Jobcentre in Brixton. CIPD wanted to give the MP a first-hand, real insight on how over 3,200 of our members across the UK are volunteering their HR knowledge and skills to mentor disadvantaged jobseekers, helping them access employment.

The CIPD’s Steps Ahead mentoring programme provides mentees with a minimum of 6 meet-ups with their local volunteer mentor (via phone, video chat or face-to-face). The majority of mentees are referred by their local Jobcentre Work Coach and 7 in 10 of those who complete the mentoring process find work – proof of the fantastic impact CIPD members can have!

Helen Hayes took the opportunity to question Kenye and Michael about why they support the programme and their view on the unique added value Steps Ahead brings.

For Michael, a qualified leadership coach and mediator who has been a passionate supporter of Steps Ahead since it was launched in South London in 2014, the uniqueness of the programme is linked to its tailored and personalised approach: ‘Steps Ahead mentors tailor their sessions to the mentee depending on wherever they are in their journey to employment e.g. writing their first CV, job search or interview practice etc.’

Kenye, a highly experienced HR professional currently working for the NHS said the programme’s USP was that it provided ‘access to structured, focused and professional help by an HR professional and an opportunity to speak to someone outside their normal environment without being judged or assessed.’ About the five young jobseekers she has mentored in the last 3 years ‘the young people I have met on the programme are ambitious, motivated and keen to do well, they just don’t know how to go about finding work or what jobs are out there.’

In addition to being mentors, Michael and Kenye also volunteer additional time as Ambassadors for Steps Ahead – this involves visiting local Jobcentres to meet directly with Work Coaches to raise awareness of this fantastic opportunity. They are not alone! Across the UK, 43 Steps Ahead Ambassadors support the CIPD’s Steps Ahead team in building relationships with over 500 Jobcentre offices.

‘Our members have such a pivotal role in the labour market, so it’s great to get them to use their skills for the wider benefit of society and the world of work, improving labour market outcomes for disadvantaged jobseekers and access to skills for organisations’ says Katerina Rudiger about why CIPD is running the Steps Ahead mentoring programme.

To find out more about the programme and how you can get involved visit our Steps Ahead Mentoring page or contact the team at: mentoring@cipd.co.uk.

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At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.