Employment minister praises volunteers for helping young people into work

HR has a vital role to play in helping the 1.64 million 18 to 24-year-olds struggling to find work across the UK, but more volunteers need to step up to the plate.

According to the CIPD it’s up to HR professionals to guide jobseekers, as many young people “don’t know what is expected of them during the recruitment process,” said Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD.

“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,” she added.

The call for more volunteers comes as the CIPD launches the Steps Ahead Mentoring Programme nationwide, which offers young jobseekers free one-to-one mentoring from an HR professional.

Esther McVey, minister for employment, praised the thousands of volunteers already on the scheme.

“Role models and mentoring are vital in showing young people the way forward so they can get their foot on the career ladder,” she said.

“I would like to thank all the volunteers involved for giving up their time to help young people secure their future.”

Launched by the CIPD as a pilot in August 2011, Steps Ahead Mentoring is part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme and is designed to help young people improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work.

Under the scheme, young jobseekers (aged 18-24) are referred by Jobcentre Plus and are partnered with a CIPD volunteer for six one-to-one mentoring sessions.

Dr Karen Mansby, a Steps Ahead Mentor said the scheme had “opened her eyes to the challenges many young people face when looking for work.”

“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,” she said.

Find out more about the programme http://www.cipd.co.uk/publicpolicy/mentoring-steps-ahead-initiative.aspx