Kick-off mentorship programme international students Brainport region

‘Hello Mentor’ matches international students from Avans and other educational institutions in the Brainport region to mentors from the work field. The pilot kicked off on Monday 8 November.

The first event took place at the headquarters of economic development company 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 graduates often lack information.

Bridge the gap

The objective of the Hello Mentor pilot is to change that. Hello Mentor is an Amsterdam based start-up, that tries to bridge the gap between study and career by matching young tech talents with experienced and to inspiring professionals.

For graduated Dutch students, it is already quite difficult to make the step to the labour market. For international students, who also encounter a language and culture barrier, this step 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, project employee at Brainport Development. She conducted research last year into motives of international students to stay in The Netherlands after their studies. “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.

Personal connection

The Hello Mentor pilot consists of a four-month programme for 17 students from technological and IT programmes. It started on 8 November. Brainport enters into cooperation with Avans and other educational institutions and companies from the region. Dreessen: “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. Van Veghel: “This is because we think it works both ways. Not only the student develops him or herself growing, but also the employee benefits. Think, for example, of improving coaching skills.” Of course, the companies also benefit. Dreessen: “The pond from which they 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.”