By starting a refugee mentoring programme, businesses can join the effort of welcoming and integrating refugees into the labour market, while at the same time developing their employees’ competences and diversity skills. Novo Nordisk, IBM and Roche have already implemented the programme at their sites in Denmark with great results and encourage others to follow. This has now become possible by using a how-to-guide funded by the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen and supported by the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark.
With little effort you make a big difference
A refugee mentoring programme typically lasts 6 months and mentors spend an average of 3-4 hours a month on the job. This can be during working hours, if the company agrees, or during free time. The point is not for the mentor to just find a job for the mentee. The mentor provides the mentee with knowledge and experiences from the Danish labour market, supporting the mentee in finding a job, education or internship on their own, and with great results: So far, the three mentoring programmes have resulted in 69% of the mentees finding regular employment or strengthening their attachment to the Danish labor market through internships, admission at university, part time jobs or student jobs.
Having a mentor helps the mentee in various ways. The mentor relation provides the mentee with field specific knowledge, expansion of his or her professional network and gives the mentee professional confidence. A mentee from the Novo Nordisk Mentor Programme states:
”The mentoring programme has been a professional inspiration into my career journey. During my participation in the program, my skills have been structured and developed”.
Valuable programme for both mentee and mentor
Experiences from IBM, Novo Nordisk and Roche show that not only does the mentoring programme help refugees – it also adds value to the work life for the mentors. Among other things, the companies have found that the mentor employees experience both professional and personal development as well as gain a new focus on diversity, which e.g. makes them more aware of stereotypes and prejudice in their daily work life. A mentor from IBM states: “The mentoring programme creates a feeling of pride amongst the employees, a sort of internal employer branding”
A process leading to the creation of the how-to-guide
Throughout 2016, Roche, IBM and Novo Nordisk launched mentoring programmes facilitated by Foreningen Nydansker, which is the NGO that also administers the Danish Diversity Charter. Foreningen Nydansker has nearly 20 years of experience with labour market integration of new Danes and the facilitation of mentoring programmes.Throughout the three mentoring programmes, Foreningen Nydansker has been collecting the experiences while continuously adjusting and improving the programme design. This has led to the creation of the how-to-guide, which is published by Foreningen Nydansker and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen. The guide aims to help private companies, associations, organisations, etc. that wish to implement a refugee mentoring programme of their own.
Download the how-to-guide
You can download the how-to-guide through this link.
If you have any questions regarding the how-to-guide, please do not hesitate to contact Senior Consultant Trine Lundgaard Hoffmann via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Foreningen Nydansker is currently working on a how-to-guide on Refugee Internship Programmes, which will be available later this year. The US Embassy is also funding this project.
Danish Diversity Charter