Nichole Higgins received the top individual award at a ceremony held on Friday 1 March, for her role supporting jobseekers as a CIPD Steps Ahead Mentor. CIPD Steps Ahead Mentoring provides jobseekers with one-to-one mentoring sessions to help them improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work. Launched in 2011 initially to help young jobseekers (aged 18-24), the programme has recently been extended to parent and carer returners.

CIPD members and staff volunteer their time as Steps Ahead Mentors, using their insight and expertise of the recruitment process to help jobseekers. Over 2,500 volunteer mentors are signed up to the programme and to date over 5,700 jobseekers have accessed Steps Ahead with 60 per cent going on to find employment.

Nichole has been one of the most active volunteers on the Steps Ahead programme and since she signed up in 2016 she has supported 12 jobseekers into work or further education. This is something she has been doing voluntarily, giving up her time, energy and knowledge to help people increase their confidence and better market their skills and experience to find work.

Mushtaq Patas, Steps Ahead mentee who Nichole supported in 2017 said: “When I was unemployed I was procrastinating and lacked motivation to look for work. Nichole helped me by being positive and supportive and suggested changes I could make. This was really good for my self-confidence and self-esteem. As a result of this, I attended a civil service interview and now I am a permanent member of staff, after being unemployed for more than a year.”

Speaking about her win, Nichole said: “I am truly humbled and really proud to win this award. This has been an amazing journey and I can honestly say I have enjoyed every single second and being recognised on this platform is phenomenal. The great thing about mentoring is that as well as helping other people it has helped me improve myself.

“Mentoring gives me great satisfaction in just simply giving back and being able to help people with their own life journey. I have never mentored someone and not learnt something, which to me is priceless.”

Speaking about Nichole’s achievement, Chelsey Baker, Founder of the National Mentoring Awards, said: “The National Mentoring Awards matter because they recognise the life changing work of mentors across the UK and from all sectors of business, education and society. We are proud to be able to honour them and celebrate their achievements."

Read more about Nichole’s experience here.

To find out how to become a Steps Ahead Mentor click here.

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