Connectr & DWP Initiative Launch Event


8th April 2021

Read time

3 minutes

Connectr & DWP Initiative Launch Event: Supporting young people hit hardest by Covid-19

Covid has had an unprecedented impact on unemployment rates across the UK, with young people among the hardest hit. 1 in 3 18-24 year olds have lost their job or been placed on furlough, and 35% are earning less than they did since the pandemic began.

In response to this, in March 2021, Connectr launched a new initiative in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), ‘Get into Work‘ to support young people into employment through our mentoring platform, delivered by the Jobcentre Plus (JCP) across the UK. In our latest live event, we delved into what this initiative will entail.

Connectr’s Founder and Managing Director, Will Akerman, shared how ‘Get into Work’ closely aligns with Connectr’s mission of supporting underrepresented talent. Covid has not affected everyone equally, and young people are now 125% more likely to become unemployed since March 2020.

Since its launch, employer partners such as Accenture UKCisco UK&IGrant Thornton LLP UK, and Skanska have joined our mission by providing mentors from their organisation, as well as upskilling digital learning content – and are making a real difference in helping young people succeed.

Cameron King, DWP Employer Advisor and Kickstart Director Account manager discussed the potential the Connectr platform has in improving the career prospects of diverse young people and enabling them to succeed. He highlighted the freedom users have to choose their mentor, explore their industry, and connect with individuals they are able to resonate with.

“JCP Connectr fits in so well with what [DWP] are trying to do for the younger age groups, and not just while they work but before, during and after. Something I am particularly proud of from working with Connectr is we’ve managed to respond to the crisis. Through our partnership, we are seeing results. What is heartening to see is young person’s confidence grow, the metaphorical ‘arm around the shoulder’ in terms of the mentoring element.”

Senior Delivery Manager for ‘Get into Work’, Khadijah Pandor, shared the impact we have seen so far since launching the mission:

  • Connectr for Jobcentre Plus has been rolled out across 7 London and Essex locations, and is newly launching in Manchester, Wolverhampton and Rochdale from May 2021.
  • Over 100 industry experts have been provided by our employer partners to support young people through light-touch mentoring.
  • We have also seen a 92% content completion rate.

“The mentor section is the best feature on this site in my opinion. It includes mentors with different experiences and job roles that people can get advice from. The mentors will give you guidance on questions that you may not have answers to yet.” – JCP Connectr user 

“Helping a young person get a job through Connectr’s platform was really rewarding – not just in playing some part in their career but in challenging myself to help find solutions.” – Accenture mentor

Linda Wickstrom, Social Impact Partnership and Engagement Lead addressed why Accenture UK became part of the mission – to support young people to thrive in a digital economy, harnessing the power of technology to do this. Their 30 mentors mix digital and human interaction to empower young people in the virtual world.

“Within a couple of weeks we got 30 employees signing up incredibly enthusiastically and we’re hearing how easy people are finding it. They’re able to set their preferences for when they’re available for mentoring, when they’re available to be contacted by a young person, and set the parameters which is important. They’ve been engaged on a number of different questions around CV writing, how to prepare for interview, and how to support young people just thinking about what kind of job they want to do.

Mentoring has been invaluable as they have been able to gain insights into the young person’s world, which has been an added bonus in allowing our staff to grow their understanding too. One of our mentors has already helped one young person find a job, which we thought was absolutely amazing.”

97% of mentors across our platform are continuing to mentor for a second year. During such a challenging time, it’s positive that mentors are actively wanting to help these young people on their journey into employment.

Our ambition is to launch our initiative in all 639 JCP locations, and provide support to young people across the UK.

To find out how your organisation can be part of leading the change, click here.