As an ambitious, recent graduate, where do you find that nice starter position? How do you write a catchy cover letter and how do you negotiate your salary? The step into the labour market is a big one for students, especially for international graduates. To give them a helping hand, Brainport Development has started the pilot with Hello Mentor. During the project, international students were matched to a mentor from the professional field.
After an earlier, digital introduction, the mentors and mentees gathered in front of the Brainport Development office in Eindhoven. After a short word of welcome, the group went for a tour of the ‘Glow’ light festival. 'In this pilot, in addition to serious matters, there is sufficient room for fun’, says Leane van Veghel on behalf of Brainport Development. 'We want to teach international students about the Dutch labour market in an accessible way and also introduce them to the Brainport region.' Both mentors and mentees look back on a successful kickoff.
One of the students who has been matched with a mentor is Gilberto de Freitas. The 25-year-old student from Portugal is studying Industrial Engineering & Maintenance at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda. For him, the mentoring programme is the ultimate way to gain insight into the labour market. 'The programme not only allows me to work on my career but also my networking skills. So far, I find it quite difficult to integrate into Dutch culture because I do not fully understand the language yet. I hope that Hello Mentor will help me prepare me for a future here in the Netherlands.'
Someone who knows how to integrate into another culture is 31-year-old João Nadas from Brazil. The Product Owner at Sendcloud has a PhD in wireless communications and previously lived and worked in Canada and Scotland. An experienced expert and the ideal mentor. 'I know the struggles of starting in another country. A new language, different habits, a lot is coming at you. Then it is difficult to make the right choices. For example, many students think that learning the Dutch language helps to integrate. But on a professional level, it is better to focus on other skills. As a mentor, I can give valuable tips so that students make better choices during their early beginnings here in the Netherlands.'
The pilot with Hello Mentor consists of a four-month programme with several contact moments and events organized throughout. The community events are organized in collaboration with the Amsterdam start-up Hello Mentor, which is settling in Eindhoven especially for this pilot. 'We have been running a similar programme in Amsterdam for almost 3 years. And that is very successful,' says Eline Stapel, People Manager at Hello Mentor.
'Our goal is to reduce the gap between education and the labour market. Especially for internationals, the step from student to young professional is very big. By bringing them into contact with experienced mentors who, like themselves, have an international background and speak the same professional jargon, you can ensure a softer landing.' Co-founder Quincy Dalh adds: 'Next to that, we aim to create a community of students and professionals who know how to find each other. We will be working very hard on that in the coming year.'
Foto's: Bram Saeys