Steps Ahead Mentoring offers jobseekers one-to-one mentoring sessions to help them improve their employability skills, boost their confidence and find work. From using your knowledge of the recruitment process, to helping a young person build their self-esteem, improve their CV or prepare for an interview. Your support and skills can make a real difference.

Join over 3,200 volunteers and develop your mentoring and coaching skills, boost your confidence, enhance your organisation’s reputation in the local area, and help us tackle unemployment.

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Mentoring is different - it means helping someone establish themselves on their career and life path. You have a chance to make a real contribution and difference to someone and that is immensely rewarding.

Barry Hoffman

Group HR Director, Computacenter

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My mentor has given me a much clearer understanding of what the recruiter is looking for and how to write about my experience.


former jobseeker from Coventry

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I found that helping [Sophie] also really helped me in my understanding – and it’s really incredibly rewarding watching somebody blossom in front of you.

Katie Sloggett

Senior HR Professional

Across the UK, jobseekers are referred to Steps Ahead by Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches, and other selected partners. The programme is currently available to young jobseekers (aged 18-24) in the majority of areas, but we have also begun to roll it out to parent returners' and older workers (aged 50+) in selected areas.

You don’t need to have any formal mentoring qualifications to take part. Our mentors help jobseekers with:

  • CV writing
  • interview techniques
  • identifying skills
  • self-marketing
  • developing self-confidence.

It's a great opportunity for you to develop your own skills, such as:

  • mentoring
  • coaching
  • providing feedback
  • handling sensitive situations
  • applying your professional knowledge.

Of the hundreds of people who have completed the programme since it originally launched as a pilot in 2012, nearly three-quarters have gone on to find work or work experience – proof of the fantastic impact CIPD members can have!

Mutual benefits

90% of mentors we surveyed, take part because they want to use their skills to help young jobseekers find work.

As Barry Hoffman, a mentor and CIPD board member, explains, ‘it’s one of the few things in your working life that you do because you want to, not because you have to’.

'Like many other young people, I hadn’t had much experience of employment. I had found it difficult to get a job – I didn’t have enough experience and had also been told that I hadn’t been selling myself well enough... I can say that Steps Ahead Mentoring turned my life around.' Samayra.

'Youth unemployment ultimately affects us all. Young people need our help – and HR is in a great position to give it.' Simon Collins, Future Talent Development Manager, Caterpillar

'When [Sam] found out she’d got the placement she phoned me up, screaming with excitement!’ Sara Mullen, Director and HR Consultant, ORO Solution

Steps Ahead mentoring is open to CIPD members. If you are a young jobseeker, please ask your JobCentre Plus Work Coach for more information or contact your nearest JobCentre Plus.

In 2015 we piloted the programme with other job seeker groups including older workers and parent returners, and we’re currently working with Timewise, supporting parents and carers returning to work in North West England. We hope that we’ll be able to offer the support to those groups in more locations in the future.

Register as a mentor

It takes only a couple of minutes to register with your CIPD membership number. You’ll immediately gain access to our secure online portal, full of resources, mentoring guidance and potential candidate matches.

Sign up today

Steps Ahead Mentoring meets the CIPD's overall charity objective to champion better work and working lives by:

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

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.

Other ways to get involved

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.