How EY and Guider are Making Mentoring Accessible to Young People in Poverty

Customers
12/17/2020
Aisha Prince

Launched in 2014, The EY Foundation is on a mission to reduce the barriers many young people face as they enter the world of higher education and employment. Those from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have access to career advice and social networks, so the Foundation has stepped in to help bridge the gap.

In addition to employability skills training, their ‘Our Future’ and ‘Smart Futures’ programmes pair young people with experienced mentors to guide them into the working world and help them secure employment.

Both ‘Smart Futures’ and ‘Our Future’ offer 2 weeks of paid work experience, 10 months of mentoring support, and a CMI level 2 adult qualification. Each programme gives the participants mentors to support them with skills such as communication, team leading, presentation and effective networking.

In the EY Foundation’s last reporting year (July 2019-June 2020) they supported nearly 7000  young people in their journey into employment.

In 2020, Guider has teamed up with the EY Foundation to bring easy, accessible mentoring to more young people.

David’s Story

David Adeniken joined the program in 2017 and was paired with mentor Alexandra Chan, a Cyber Security Associate in EY’s Managed Services department. Struggling between making the decision of entering the workforce and entering university, Alexandra helped him learn about the other options available and he elected to begin a degree apprenticeship.

Research by Upreach shows that state school students were less likely to have access to career advice at school, complete work experience, or have access to a network. Private school students were 45% more likely than state school students to have career help at school. The EY Foundation works to fill in these gaps by providing the guidance that motivated students, such as David, are looking for.

David was taught about building his self-confidence, being proactive, and was able to learn from Alexandra as she led by example. EY offered him the opportunity to tackle not only Mount Toubkal in South West Morocco, but the fundraising for it too, showing him that he can achieve anything he puts his mind to.

Mark’s Story 

Mark sought out the EY Foundation as he needed job guidance. He was placed on a 2-week work experience position with a construction company. He quickly became part of the team, learning from other employees and his managers. His managers watched as he became more open, forthcoming and grew in confidence. With his new skills and new growth in confidence, Mark knew that he wanted to become a plumber and understood the journey he needed to take.

Many ambitious students such as Mark and David take on the challenge of building their future, seeking skills such as ‘job seeking’, ‘CV Writing’ and ‘networking skills’. The mentees had identified where they most sought help, and with the support of EY Foundation were able to get that boost they needed.

Research shows that 80% of jobs are found through networking, and private school students were 45% more likely to have accessed new jobs through family and friends, compared to state school students. This is why networking skills are especially useful for those from low-income backgrounds, who are least likely to have connections.

Guider and the EY Foundation Together

With Guider, the EY Foundation has been able to connect mentees and mentors virtually across the world. Giving young people access to a wider range of mentors than ever before. Guider simplifies the matching process and makes it easier for the programme managers to report on the impact of the mentoring programme.

  • AI Matching – As the platform uses artificial intelligence, mentors and mentees have a simple matching process giving them the freedom to select the most suitable partnership. This frees up time for programme managers to focus on providing the best experience for mentors and mentees.

  • Reporting – Manual reporting can be long, tedious, and difficult. Programme managers can see important data such as which skills are most sought after by mentees right on their Guider dashboard.

  • Learning Hub – The mentors and mentees are able to access a range of information and resources to help them progress in their journey.

Their Impact

The EY Foundation found that 22% of the programme participants were worried about the impact Covid-19 would have on their work experience opportunities, and 46% were worried about the impact Covid would have on exams. With Guider, their participants are able to access mentoring and learning opportunities at home with minimal disruption regardless of lockdown.

In their 2019 to 2020 impact report, the EY Foundation found that:

  • 61% of the young people on the programme came from the top 3 most deprived postcode areas in the UK

  • 100% were on free school meals

However, as a result of the programme:

  • 92% of mentees felt that the programme improved their career prospects

  • 78% said the programme helped them decide their future goals

  • 76% were satisfied with their present job

  • 75% of employers said that the EY programme helped them understand the challenges many young people face.

It's incredible to see what the EY Foundation has achieved over the years and the progress young people are able to make when given opportunities they hadn’t previously had. 

We look forward to continuing working with the EY Foundation to bring simple, accessible mentoring to the employees of the future.


Guider is revolutionising the way organisations support and develop their people. Book a demo of our AI-powered mentoring software today 💡