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Hello Mentor, a pilot where international students get matched to mentors from the work field, kicks off on Monday 8 November.
During the first event at Brainport Development, seventeen international students from educational institutions in the region got matched to mentors from ASML, Fourtress, Sendcloud, Taktify, and Itility. In the upcoming period, various meetings will take place in which the students will be introduced to the Dutch labour market.
Educational institutions in the Brainport region educate thousands of international students every year. After their studies, these talented employees can be of added value to the Brainport region. Research by Brainport Development shows that many internationals like to stay in The Netherlands after their studies to work here. However, this process does not always go smoothly. The ex-students do not lack motivation, but they do lack information. The pilot with Hello Mentor is going to change that.
For graduated Dutch students, it is already quite difficult to make the step to the labour market. Because where do you find that great 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 culture barrier, this step towards the labour market is even more complicated. 'For these students, everything is different from what they are used to. From the way, we deal with each other in a business-like manner, to how we talk about money', says Leane van Veghel.
Commissioned by Brainport Development, she conducted research last year into motives of international students to stay in The Netherlands after their studies. What does it turn out to be? Most of these international students do not lack motivation, but information. 'Many international students are willing to stay in The Netherlands but need a springboard towards a job. Currently, during your studies there is too little attention for a program like this’, says Mira Dreessen, project leader Brabant International Students at Brainport Development.
That springboard is now there with the Hello Mentor pilot. The pilot consists of a four-month program. To this end, Brainport enters into cooperation with educational institutions and companies from the region. Mira: 'We are supported in this by the Amsterdam start-up 'Hello Mentor', which extends to Eindhoven especially for this pilot. The bottom line is that we match international students with a mentor from the work field. In four months, they make a personal connection and share experiences. In this way, the students receive the necessary information and guidance to make the step into the labour market.'
Students are matched to a mentor with the same background. Leane: 'This is because we think it works both ways. Not only the student develops him/herself growing, but also the employee benefits. Think, for example, of improving coaching skills.' Of course, the companies also benefit. Mira: 'The pond from which companies can fish is getting bigger. In addition, numerous studies show that adding international employees is good for your team. The more diverse your team is, the better.'
The pilot, which will last a year, starts on 8 November. 'The first group consists of seventeen IT students, but we could have easily made two groups', says Leane. 'After an evaluation, more students can join, also from other programs.' After the pilot phase, it will be examined whether the project will be continued. Leane: 'It would be great to retain more talented forces for the Brainport region as a result.'