Mentors for Young Social Security Recipients

Support from a mentor can help marginalised young people to get an upper secondary education or a job. This is illustrated by a research project in which marginalised young people receive guidance, support and practical help from a personal mentor.    

Time period:

2012 – 2014.

Target group:

Young cash welfare benefit recipients without an education, which is qualifying for business.

Number of participants:

2.588 young people shared among 13 job centres in Jutland and on Zealand.   

Intervention:

The young people were offered a personal mentor in a period of maximally a year, or until the young person was back in job or education. The mentors had beforehand attended a course to be prepared for their mentoring job. The intention consists of contact with the mentor every week. The mentor’s role was divided in four areas:

  • To be a personal guide and support.
  • To help plan the future.
  • To be a mediator and interpreter between the young and the system.
  • To support the young in connecting with a potential start-up on education or in a job.    

Research:

The effect of support from mentors is evaluated in a randomized controlled trial by drawing on individual level. The draw places the young people randomly in either a mentoring group or a control group. Both groups receive the job centre’s regular effort but furthermore the mentoring group is offered a mentor. The researchers have used their own collected qualitative and quantitative data as well as data from the Ministry of Employment and Statistics Denmark. 

Partners:

The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (former The National Labour Market Authority).    

Results:

Support from mentors raises the part of young cash welfare benefit recipients, who start on an education or in a job. Compared to the control group, an additional 4 percent young people started in an education and an increase of 2 percent young people started in a job, when they were connected to a mentor. This is an increase in respectively 30 and 40 %.

The mentoring arrangement is not equally effective for all. It is especially young people who have completed the lower secondary school with an average below grade 4 who have benefitted from the mentoring arrangement. Likewise, the mentoring arrangement has had a significant effect at the probability to return to the education system for young people with a limited experience with the State Education Grant and parents with a short education and a low income.

Through a questionnaire survey the project has shown that the young people also experience how the weekly mentoring contact helps and strengthens them in their everyday life with increased motivation, self-esteem, faith in themselves and a better health.    

Long-term effects:

At the latest, one year after the young was assigned a mentor or in the moment the young person began an education the mentoring project was stopped. It will be examined, in a follow-up study, if the young people complete their education after finishing the mentoring intervention.      

Project group

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