National Mentoring Day: Step into mentoring with Steps Ahead

Steps Ahead Mentoring (SAM) is CIPD’s flagship volunteer programme aimed at supporting jobseekers (18-24 year olds, and Parent and Carers looking to enter or return to the workforce) to move closer to employment through one-to-one mentoring.  The programme supports CIPD’s charitable objectives by enabling members to volunteer their HR expertise to help jobseekers better prepare for securing employment.

Since 2012, CIPD members have been supporting this nationwide volunteering programme. The programme supports jobseekers into work by providing free employability support over 6-8 sessions over a maximum 12-week period. The programme is very flexible on where mentoring can take place: face-to-face, over the phone or via video chat.

Mentors also benefit from understanding the real challenges faced by jobseekers and can use this insight to alter their own recruitment practices.

Steps Ahead Mentoring is really life changing and it’s mentees like Alice whose story really shows how positively it can change a person’s life.

Alice had been unemployed for six months and was regularly attending interviews for new jobs, but unfortunately wasn’t having any success. Alice was referred to Steps Ahead Mentoring via her local Jobcentre and then matched with her mentor Layla. Alice instantly felt encouraged and supported by Layla.

‘She saw that I was confident and told me to be myself in the interview… She taught me techniques to keep calm, to take my time, and to breathe.’

Layla helped Alice to prepare for interviews by improving her interview performance. She also helped her identify her personal skills and qualities, as well as what skills she could improve on. Over the course of the programme, they developed a great working relationship.

After a few sessions with Layla, Alice was invited to an interview for an administration position with a local transport company and successfully secured the position.

“Words can't describe how much appreciation I have for my mentor, giving up their spare time to help me while I was looking for work. I am 100% likely to recommend Steps Ahead Mentoring to friends and family that are needing help with job interviews and confidence building.”


All mentors are volunteers and as people professionals, they have a unique insight into the recruitment process and are the gatekeepers to jobs. They help jobseekers plan their career, better market their skills and abilities, increase confidence and improve their chances of securing employment. If you are interested in being part of this fantastic programme, you can sign up to today and see how you can make a real difference to a jobseeker in your community. 

Programme evaluation has shown that the volunteering experience is positive with 99% of CIPD members recommending it to others. Mentors really value the relationship they build with mentees and the impact Steps Ahead Mentoring has made on their perception of jobseekers. One third of mentors say it has raised their awareness of how to amend recruitment practices in their organisations to be more inclusive.

Over 2500 volunteer mentors and 6000 jobseekers have accessed Steps Ahead to date. Since the start of the programme we have reduced unemployment of our mentees by 48% with a 40% increase in full time permanent employment, and increases also in part time, temporary work, apprenticeships and internships.

Over 80% of participants have confirmed that Steps Ahead has been invaluable to helping them secure employment, testament to the commitment mentors provide to jobseekers. One of our major priorities as a charitable organisation is to increase access to, and availability of, ‘good work’. Our evaluation shows we do not just support access into ‘any’ job, but our mentees secure roles that match their aspirations, with 81% of mentees achieving roles that were their career of choice.

In addition to increased employability skills, participants have increased confidence, self-esteem and communications skills. 75% of our parent-carer mentees have felt more confident in their ability to find work and 88% think mentoring has a positive impact on their home-life, with the largest reason being their increased self-esteem. Mentees like Alice show how beneficial Steps Ahead Mentoring really is and it is testament to mentors like Layla that this programme is such a success. We’d like to acknowledge the amazing work carried out by all our mentors past and present who’ve supported Steps Ahead Mentoring. They are the real heroes and without them, this programme would not be possible! 

For more information about the programme visit, or contact the team at

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