Steps Ahead Mentoring

Can you use your skills to help a young jobseeker find work?

Steps Ahead Mentoring offers young people, most of whom have never worked before, six one-to-one mentoring sessions to help them improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work.

Young jobseekers (aged 18-24) are referred to Steps Ahead by Jobcentre Plus advisers, and other selected partners. To date, 73% of those who have completed the programme go on to find work or work experience – proof of the fantastic impact CIPD members can have!

The programme is run by the CIPD (at no cost to the young people or Jobcentre Plus) with support from Nesta and the Cabinet Office via the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund.

Steps Ahead Mentoring is currently operating across the whole of England, with plans in place for pilots in Scotland, Wales and Ireland (please contact mentoring to find out more about those).

How to register

To register as a Steps Ahead Mentor you must be a member of the CIPD (please have your membership number to hand) and it takes only a couple of minutes to register via our secure online portal.

Register here

Once registered you will be given access to our purpose built mentoring portal which is full of resources to help you and allows you to be matched easily with young jobseekers in your area.

If you have any questions about the project and registration process, please contact the Steps Ahead Mentoring Team at

To find out how to become a member of the CIPD click here

To log into the Steps Ahead Mentoring portal click here

Further information

Steps Ahead Mentoring is a core part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme which promotes greater levels of employer engagement with young people. It meets the CIPD's overall charity objective to champion better work and working lives by:

  1. improving the employability of young job-seekers and ultimately bring them closer to the labour market.
  2. fostering better understanding by the HR profession of the challenges young people face.
  3. providing HR practitioners with the opportunity to develop their coaching and mentoring skills.

Do I qualify as a mentor?

Any CIPD member can register to become a mentor. Steps Ahead Mentoring will allow you, as an HR professional, to use the skills you have gained in a professional setting to great effect, including:

  • knowledge of the skills and attributes employers look for
  • mentoring or coaching skills 
  • knowledge of recruitment processes and ‘job-related skills’ such as interview technique

What's in it for me?

Our mentors benefit from a range of individual, professional and organisational gains. Being involved in the project will provide you with lots of opportunities to develop mentoring and coaching skills and it will also enhance your organisation’s reputation in the local area.

‘The programme has given me an opportunity to enhance my skills with regard to interpersonal skills with young people.’
Simon Collins, Steps Ahead Mentor

The great feeling you get when the programme is a success is also immeasurable:

'I have seen my mentees grow in self esteem and self confidence and they are so much more prepared for the job market. Since starting the mentoring with me, two have secured employment and the third is thinking of setting up a recording business.'
CIPD Mentor

‘I wholeheartedly believe that without the scheme I would not have gotten this job.’
Young person from Rugby

You can read more about the learning and development gains to be made via participating in volunteering in our recent Volunteering to learn: Employee development through community action report.

What else can I do?

Even if you can’t become a mentor, there are other ways you can help improve the job prospects of young people.

  • If you don't feel that a mentoring or volunteering role is right for you, why not take on a young jobseeker for work experience? Read our leaflet Making work experience work: top tips for employers for more information on offering work experience.
  • Are you willing to spare a couple of hours of your time to volunteer at a local school, to help students with their CVs, conduct a mock interview or deliver a careers insight talk? If so, then find out about the Inspiring the Future initiative.