How does Steps Ahead mentoring work?

A thumbnail image of a woman and man in conversation

Across England, Scotland and Wales, 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) and parent and carer returners. We spent a year piloting the programme supporting age 50+ Jobseekers in West London. We are currently reviewing how we will further support older jobseekers in the future before launching it in different regions, we’ll keep our mentors updated.

You don’t need to have any formal mentoring qualifications to take part.

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
  • working with different age groups

As a mentor you would provide face to face or virtual support to a job seeker in the community. This takes the form of 1-1 mentoring sessions to support them back into employment. You will agree with the mentee their objectives and guide and steer them to achieve these. This could be any of the following or others you may set together:

  • reviewing their career goals and identifying sectors they may wish to work
  • giving top tips on effective job searching
  • increasing their knowledge on flexible working options
  • helping them improve their confidence
  • working with them on their CV, applications or interview skills

We also have Volunteer Steps Ahead Ambassadors. As an Ambassador for the Steps Ahead mentoring programme, you’ll promote the programme to mentee referral partners, including Jobcentre Plus, in order to drive an increase in the number and quality of jobseeker referrals onto the programme. We’d also like you to promote the Steps Ahead programme to CIPD members through local CIPD Branches.

For more details read the Mentor and Ambassador Role Profiles below. As part of your volunteer relationship with us, you are also asked to be familiar with the Mentor Agreement Form which you can view from the file attached below. You can’t start mentoring unless you sign this form which will be attached to the email once you register with us.

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!

Steps Ahead mentors are required to be a CIPD member (any level) to take part.

Yes, we have three free online training webinars we provide for mentors which are:

  • Introduction to mentoring
  • Mentoring young jobseekers
  • Mentoring parent and carer returners

The webinars are each an hour long and are very interactive. We ask new mentors to attend at least one of these webinars within three months of registering on Steps Ahead.

We also have a range of support resources available to mentors via our online mentoring portal which can be accessed at any time.

As a Steps Ahead Mentor you could be supporting parents and carers looking to return to work via Jobcentre Plus across England, Scotland and Wales. However, we know that many parents would like to return to work but are put off because they cannot find suitable employment that fits around their family life. We wanted to find a way of addressing this and have received funding from the Government Equalities Office to run our Parent Returner Programme in Yorkshire and the Humber. The programme is designed to support parents returning to work after twelve months or more of being unemployed, whilst also helping employers improve their policies and practices. Steps Ahead Mentoring is a big part of what will be offered to the parents and we are looking for 150 mentors to volunteer to support them in, or close to, the region.

If you live in, or close to, Yorkshire and the Humber and you fit the general requirements for Steps Ahead then you are eligible to take part (and if you have had your own experience of having a period of time out of the workplace then even better, although this is not required).

As a mentor on this programme you will receive the following, in addition to what you already get as a Steps Ahead Mentor:

  • A Webinar training session: 'Introduction to Parent Returner Mentoring'.

  • Monthly ‘check-ins’ with CIPD and other mentors to help troubleshoot problems and share ideas.

  • An invite to our parent peer support event on Sunday 15 March 2020 at the Theatre Royal, York. This event will be hosted by Pregnant then Screwed Live and will bring together some of the funniest, most inspirational women around to help parents rebuild their confidence and navigate the world of motherhood and work.

Find out more about the Parent Returner Programme.