How do we release the Covid pause button?

Covid has impacted each and every one of us in both personal and professional capacities. Many of our goals and aspirations held over the last  12 months have been cancelled at worst, or postponed at best. This impact has been equally disruptive and disheartening within the talent space, with young people being one of the groups hardest hit – 1 in 3 18-24 year olds have lost their job or been furloughed since the pandemic began.

With the ongoing distribution of the vaccine and recent Government plans to emerge from lockdown, we have hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel in the not-too-distant future. However, in the meantime, we need to continue to support young people in securing work and enable them to feel connected and like they belong, despite the physical disconnect still being present for some time yet.

There are a number of initiatives in place to help drive this support for young people forward. One includes government-funded initiatives such as the Kickstart scheme. Employers can engage directly via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Jobcentre Plus, or through a Gateway organisation, to welcome a cohort of young people into the business for 25 hours a week of paid work experience, over a 6 month period.

Provision of Government funding allows employers £1500 for every young person they onboard, to support and develop them over the course of the programme. ‘Kickstart’ is an initiative built to not only upskill the young people who need it most, but to allow employers to see the potential of their ‘Kickstarters’ and use it as a feeder for their apprenticeship pipelines.

For initiatives such as the Kickstart scheme, there is an increased demand on the People resource to implement and deliver – hence the provision of funding. However, to further reduce this demand on internal resources, and ensure diverse young people are truly set up for success, an additional tool can be implemented – mentoring.

Across our client network, we have seen the impact mentoring has in driving both the successful placement of diverse talent into employment, and supporting them once in the business to thrive. Candidates and employees who are given access to a mentor are able to be supported through their application journey, and progress as an employee at all levels of seniority.

Unlike traditional mentoring programmes which are largely ‘manual’, by leveraging our technology platform Connectr, candidates and employees can access a diverse range of mentors whenever they want to. Through smart ‘mentor matching’, users are connected to the most relevant mentors to engage with and receive the support they need.

MyKindaFuture’s brand new initiative with the DWP leverages mentoring to support the unemployed young people who need it most. Connectr will be used by the Jobcentre Plus’ Work Coaches to match 18-24 year old jobseekers with mentors to provide the advice, tools and skills needed to secure a job and success in it.

Candidates will be matched with mentors from both regional and national employers, from a diverse range of sectors, based on their personality, skills and ambitions. Employer mentors will guide them throughout the recruitment process and even after they have secured a job.

So, how can we head into the light sooner and release the Covid pause button?

So, while we eagerly await a more hopeful future, we need to release the Covid ‘pause button’ by offering real support to the young people who need it now. These mentoring initiatives can build future skills for businesses, provide rewarding volunteering opportunities for existing employees, and make a real difference to the early talent hit hardest by Covid.


To find out how your organisation can get involved with our partner initiative with the DWP, email