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Hello Mentor helps international students find their way around the job market in Brainport

Educational institutions from the Brainport region train thousands of international students every year. After their training, these talented employees can add value to the Brainport region. Research by Brainport Development shows that many internationals like to stay in the Netherlands to work after their studies. However, this process does not always go smoothly. The ex-students do not lack motivation, but they do lack information about the labour market. The pilot with Hello Mentor will change that.

 

Written by Brainport Eindhoven

17 August 2021

Educational institutions from the Brainport region train thousands of international students every year. After their training, these talented employees can add value to the Brainport region. Research by Brainport Development shows that many internationals like to stay in the Netherlands to work after their studies. However, this process does not always go smoothly. The ex-students do not lack motivation, but they do lack information about the labour market. The pilot with Hello Mentor will change that.

 

Written by Brainport Eindhoven

17 August 2021

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For many recently graduated Dutch people it is already quite difficult to make the step to the labour market. Because where do you find that nice starter position? How do you write a catchy cover letter? And how do you negotiate your salary? For international students, who also encounter a language and cultural barrier, the step to the labour market is even more complicated. ‘Everything is different for these students than they are used to. From the way we deal with each other in business in the Netherlands, to how we talk about money', says Leane van Veghel. In the past year, she was commissioned by Brainport Development to research the motivations of international students to stay in the Netherlands after their studies. What seems? Most internationals do not lack motivation, but information. ‘Many international students are willing to stay in the Netherlands but need a springboard towards a job. At the moment, too little attention is being paid to this from the training programme', says Mira Dreessen, project leader Brabant International Students at Brainport Development.

Mentor

That springboard now comes in the form of a pilot, called 'Hello Mentor'. The pilot, which is a direct result of Leane's research, consists of a four-month program. To this end, Brainport is collaborating with Hello Mentor, educational institutions and companies from the region. Mira: 'We are supported in this by the Amsterdam start-up 'Hello Mentor', which is settling in Eindhoven especially for this pilot. In essence, we match international students with a mentor from the business world. In four months, they establish a personal connection and share experiences. In this way, the students receive the necessary information and guidance to make the step to the labour market.'

It works both ways

Students are matched to a mentor with a similar (study) background. Leane: 'This is because we think that it works both ways. Not only does the student grow, but the employee as well. Think, for example, of improving coaching skills.' Naturally, the business community also benefits. Mira: 'The pond from which companies can fish is getting bigger. In addition, numerous studies show that adding international employees to your team is good for your company. The more diverse your team is, the better.”

Retain talent

The pilot, which will last one year, will start in October. During the first six months, students from the IT sector will be part of the target group. After an evaluation, other students can also join in.' After the pilot phase and thorough evaluation, the project might get a follow-up, with other study programmes and a possible expansion to the Dutch student body. Leane: 'It would be great if we are able to retain more talented employees for the Brainport region as a result.'