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Mentoring Circle Initiative - Department for Work and Pensions

Mentoring Circle Initiative - Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) aim is to encourage local employers and partners to support young job seekers, by mentoring them for a total of 6 hours over a 3 week period (although this can be flexible) ideally at a business premises, however space is available at Ipswich Job Centre. The sessions will give insight to these young job seekers on how to succeed in life and be better prepared for their careers.

Please see below information from DWP on how to get involved, testimonials from employers that too part in the 2018 mentoring circles and further information:

Following the successful delivery of Mentoring Circles aimed at Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) jobseekers the Minister for Employment, Alok Sharma MP on 17th January announced the extension of Mentoring Circles to all young people aged 16-24 in England, Scotland and Wales.

As we upscale the Mentoring Circles nationally I am writing to you as a responsible business to ask for your support and involvement to deliver this exciting initiative – this would equate to a mentor committing to a total of 6 hours over a three-week period. The Mentoring Circles will provide support to jobseekers on how to succeed in life and be better prepared for their careers. The mentors will work alongside other businesses to deliver Mentoring Circles. Our aim is to start delivery of the Mentoring Circles from April this year in boroughs across England, Scotland and Wales.


From June to October 2018 DWP worked in collaboration with Business in the Community (BITC) to deliver Mentoring Circles in the 20 Race Disparity Challenge areas this is where employment outcomes for BAME people is worse than white people. Following delivery, the feedback both from employers and mentors was very positive and encouraging. In total we delivered 21 mentoring circles, 63 mentoring sessions, 85 employer mentors representing 27 companies and 590 young people start the Mentoring Circles.

Mentoring circles

A Mentoring Circle is a type of action learning set, where mentees bring issues or challenges to the group and work and learn together, take action and reflect on outcomes with a focus on personal development. We know many young people do not have access to social capital, role models or inspiring employer mentors. This initiative bridges this gap bringing employers and mentees together.

The Mentoring Circle model comprises of three meetings where employers lead the sessions and share insight and information with the mentees. The sessions are two hours long, spread over three weeks so a total commitment from the mentor will be that of 6 hours. The mentors will work with the same group of 8-10 mentees over the three weeks. The first two sessions are delivered in the Jobcentre or a venue sourced by DWP.  The third session where possible we ask the employer to deliver on their premises. All mentors will receive a briefing, a slide deck, an outline of the programme including subjects they may wish to cover with Jobcentre staff available to support throughout the delivery.  

What is the Return on Investment for your Business to get involved?

Your Company is able to gain valuable insight into the barriers and challenges faced by young people, test out your attraction and recruitment processes and gain insight from jobseekers. An opportunity to make a difference to young people’s lives and tap into a diverse talented pool of jobseekers.

The mentees who participated told us:

“Understand more and feel more confident”

“Very inspiring and friendly”

“Very useful discussed interview techniques and application process”

“Taught me how to better formulate interview answers and a strong CV”

“Inspired me a lot and encouraged me to broaden my job search”

Very helpful in explaining what recruiters are looking for in employees”

“Very good! Learnt new things. And thankful for this opportunity”

Employers involved in the 2018 mentoring circles told us:

Network Rail – “It was an absolute pleasure”

Health Education England: Absolute pleasure. I got such a lot from it!

SEO London Head of Recruitment – “Glad and genuinely humbled to have played a part”. The young people we had the fortune of mentoring have been pretty inspirational too! its an absolute honour/pleasure to be involved in such a great initiative.

National Grid – “We spent a few moments with mentoring - which will no doubt have a positive lifetime impact on the youngsters”. “It was a great privilege to be involved in such an initiative”

HSBC Head of D&I – “I could not be more proud to have individuals from our Embrace Network take the lead in bringing this to fruition and being fully part of its implementation. We have been proud to support the first of its kind mentoring circles in partnership with DWP”

Fujitsu Head of UK and I – “Mentoring Circles is an excellent initiative. Feedback from the mentees and mentors was very positive, if we help even one person get into work it will have been worth it”.

We would very much like your support with delivering the Mentoring Circles. Please email Kelly Weeding: if this is something your company is able to support.  

Article by Suffolk Chamber