Mentors for Young Social Security Recipients

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.   


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.    


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. 


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


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.      


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