OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Young Adult Mentor/Mentee Network

When you're looking for work, it can be easy to feel lost, directionless or like your search will never end. How can we assure young people there's light at the end of the tunnel? Match job seekers up with successful job 'attainers' for mentoring!

Photo of Ashley Jablow
14 12

Written by

When I was looking for work, it was easy to get down, feel depressed and wonder when my searching would end. Once I did finally get a job, I was able to look back on my experience and know that each lesson, each rejection, and each moment of my search had a purpose. Wouldn't it have been helpful if I could have gone back in time to tell my job searching self that it would all work out for the best?!

When reading through inspirations, I was struck by how it feels like there's a gap between young people looking for work, and young people who were able to successfully find work. We've talked about mentoring networks between young people and older generations, but what about peer-to-peer mentoring? How might we create some sort of matchmaking system that helps not only inspire young job seekers (with stories of success) but also exposes them to the tools, tactics and strategies that other young people made use of to get their jobs?

This mentorship network could start out small and local - perhaps matching up current students with young professionals who have recently graduated and are out in the working world. From there, we could take it even further and think about how we might tap into networks of students and young professionals to encourage and enable this kind of mentoring around the world.

What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?

In addition to a local matchmaking/mentoring system, what if there was an online component that enabled young job seekers to connect with young professionals online? Mentoring could happen on Skype just as easily as it could happen at a cafe or school!

My Virtual Team

Thanks to Nina Birri for the build about an online portal to connect mentors and mentees.

14 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Carol Shu
Team

Great idea, my design program has peer counseling (partly because of budget cuts on staffing) and it's popular because students prefer talking to other design students about studio classes, portfolios, etc. Perhaps places like The Hub (http://www.the-hub.net/) could host the meet-ups. Or perhaps there could be a Hub specifically for younger people.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

"When reading through inspirations, I was struck by how it feels like there's a gap between young people looking for work, and young people who were able to successfully find work" Great line!

I feel that you are also commenting on a larger societal trend that in this age of increased connectivity (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN) that students are finding it more difficult to make meaningful connections (i.e. career mentors).

Would you agree?

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Really great insights Porter. Online connections are important and valuable, but sometimes face-to-face is best!

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Good idea! i actually have a couple of friends who do this here in Sao Paulo as a volunteer job and they are so amazed by its life changing potential. It is something quite simple to do and does make the difference.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Maria, I'm glad to hear this concept is already being 'proven' in the real world! I wonder if your friends would have any suggestions or feedback to make this idea even better. Maybe they want to join our conversation?

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Cool concept. I can definitely see the online aspect of both matching seekers and mentors by industry or location and organizing meet-ups etc.
The big nut to crack would of course be visibility/spread, but perhaps it could start spreading to jobseekers through job-seeker agencies and on the mentor side perhaps through employers, talent networks and young-professional networks. Then it could probably become more viral once there are success stories and word-of-mouth to build on.
I think many job holders would be willing to "give back" once they've passed the first hump of getting into a new job.
This could probably be easily apped as well, making it potentially even more accessible to match, connect and implement the mentoring, whether irl or online.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Great input Ola, thanks!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Great idea! I find exchanging experiences is always very helpful in whatever life situation...
taking it online it could be a webbased plattform where young professionals can register. students/graduates could then filter for their location, preferred company/industry etc.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Oh I like your build Nina! It's fun to think about how this could be an online system as well - with mentoring happening on Skype too! I'll add that to the concept.

Photo of Zoe Schlag
Team

I would add that the function be able to filter along industry/theme/profession, but would then match you with peers from other countries to foster cross-cultural collaboration and idea-sharing

Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

I think it's a great idea. It's good for young people to exchange experiences. Plus, this can amplify a networking effect, putting job searchers in contact with those that already have a job.

Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Thanks for this Ashley
I noted the existence of the starter concepts but didn't explore them until now.
I can see an element of this being part of the "great employer" concept as a point for successful appointees to share both their experience and what is "great" about the organisation(s) they work for.
Will begin to modify my concept to reflect this tonight.

Photo of Kirpal Chauhan
Team

There is something already here on this http://youthmentoring.org/

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Hi Kirpal, thanks for letting me know. My goal was to get Concepting started by adding an idea that people could build upon. I'll check out Youth Mentoring and see if there are additional lessons or tactics we could learn from and/or incorporate into this idea.