Employers urged to back mentor scheme for young jobseekers
UK companies are being called on to provide mentors and funding for a new government-backed initiative to tackle soaring youth unemployment.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has joined forces with HR tech company MyKindaFuture to launch a mentoring programme to help 18-24 year olds find work through the Jobcentre Plus (JCP).
Major employers, including Accenture, KPMG, Cisco, Skanska and Grant Thornton UK LLP, have thrown their weight behind the initiative, which is to be rolled out nationally. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 60% of the 693,000 people who have lost their jobs since February 2020 were under the age of 25.
MyKindaFuture’s online mentoring platform, Connectr, will provide jobseekers with advice, tools and skills for securing a job while they tap into the experience of mentors from leading local and national employers. The programme will benefit young people looking for all types of work, including apprenticeships and those involved in the Government’s flagship £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, which offers six-month work experience programmes to young people on Universal Credit.
The Connectr platform is initially being rolled out across seven JCPs in London, with plans to launch UK-wide soon after. Candidates will be matched with mentors from a range of backgrounds and industries, who will support candidates throughout the recruitment process. The platform will also offer online learning modules and content designed to help candidates develop their communications and interview skills.
“The events of the last year mean that initiatives such as the partnership between MyKindaFuture and Jobcentre Plus have never been more crucial,” said Camilla Drejer, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Accenture UK&I. “At a time where young people are struggling to find employment, empowering them with digital skills, mentorship and guidance will help them not only find a job, but to succeed in their future career. Businesses can play a vital role in sharing our insights as recruiters and employers to enable young people to improve their chances of success.”
Roisin Murphy and Roisin Sharkey, Co-Heads of Corporate Responsibility at KPMG UK, added: “Navigating the job market is hard enough for those just finding their feet, without throwing the challenges of this pandemic and rising unemployment into the mix. Every business has a role to play in supporting the next generation of talent, especially in the context of social mobility, which isn’t just a matter of fairness but an economic necessity.”
“This is a landmark moment,” said Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director at MyKindaFuture. “The scale of unemployment in the UK at the moment is unprecedented, especially among young people. It is therefore essential that UK businesses and the Government work together to support disadvantaged young people who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and we are confident that this new initiative will prevent those who are worst affected from falling further behind.”
Photo courtesy of Canva.com