MyKindaFuture, the leading HR tech company specialising in underrepresented talent, has joined forces with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to launch an innovative mentoring programme designed to help unemployed 18-24 year olds find work through the Jobcentre Plus.

The joint initiative will see MyKindaFuture’s online mentoring platform, Connectr, being used by Jobcentre Plus (JCP) to provide jobseekers with the advice, tools and skills they need to secure a job and succeed in it. The project, which offers young people access to mentors from leading local and national employers, aims to tackle the rising issue of unemployment in Britain.

Connectr will initially be rolled out in February across six job centres in London, with other locations to follow soon after. Candidates will be referred to the Connectr platform by JCP’s Work Coaches where they will be matched with mentors from a range of backgrounds and industries. Candidates will be offered the opportunity to choose from a selection of mentors who will be recommended to them based on their personality, skills, and ambitions. Once matched, the mentors will be on hand to support candidates throughout the recruitment process and even after they have secured a job, offering advice on everything from identifying the right role and preparing for an interview, through to navigating their first few months in the role.

Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director at MyKindaFuture, comments: “We are so pleased to be unveiling this brand-new initiative in partnership with the DWP. The project has been designed to offer vital support to young job seekers in the UK, connecting them with employer mentors and increasing their chances of securing a job and succeeding in it. This is a landmark moment.

“The scale of unemployment in the UK at the moment is unprecedented, especially among young people. The unemployment rate recently hit a five-year high, whilst the number of people on payroll is 828,000 lower than this time last year. In addition, it’s likely that the current furlough scheme is masking the true extent of the problem. As a result, finding work is more difficult than ever, and 18-24 year olds are amongst the hardest hit. It is 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 our new initiative will prevent those who are worst affected from falling further behind.”

In addition to the mentoring function, the platform will also offer people looking for employment the opportunity to benefit from online learning modules and content designed to allow candidates to develop their communications and interview skills whilst they search for a job.

Ronald Wyse, Work Coach at Hounslow Jobcentre Plus, said: “The Connectr digital mentoring platform is going to play an integral part in our vision for our 18–24 year old claimants. It will open up fantastic possibilities of growth that only mentorships can offer. Mentoring is primarily about developing capability and potential, and the array of highly professional and successful mentors Connectr has offers plenty of this. It will provide that essential ingredient in helping to build the creative, innovative goal driven individuals that will be the driving force of our economy in the future. These are exciting times, and I am glad we have MyKindaFuture playing a part in what we do.”

The programme will benefit young people looking for all types of work, including apprenticeships and the Government’s flagship £2bn Kickstart Scheme, which offers six-month work experience programmes to young people on Universal Credit.

In addition to the DWP and HM Treasury, the mentoring initiative has received support from major UK employers. Accenture has provided vital funding, content from its Skills 2 Succeed employability training programme and mentors for the project, whilst KPMG will support with funding and a host of experienced mentors. More employers are joining this initiative each week, with Cisco, Skanska and Grant Thornton UK LLP already providing mentors and educational content designed to support young people looking for employment.

Minister for Employment, Mims Davies MP, concludes: “Mentoring has such a valuable role in supporting young people with their job search, and it’s great to see DWP team with MyKindaFuture to match young people with mentors.

“Protecting the job prospects of our next generation of workers is at the heart of our Plan for Jobs. With support programmes like Kickstart as well as our vast network of Youth Hubs, we are creating hope, levelling up opportunity and building back better.”

MyKindaFuture and the DWP are calling for employers across the country to support the initiative by providing mentors and funding to enable a nationwide rollout in all UK JCP centres. To find out more about the scheme, and how your organisation can help, email [email protected] or [email protected].

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.