According to several different reports, immigrants’ employment to the Finnish labor market is poor. Challenges of employment are insufficient Finnish language skills and that the know-how gained abroad is not always recognized in the labor market. Immigrants often have insufficient contacts to the Finnish working-life and little work experience from Finland, which lowers their chances of employment. By strengthening immigrants’ networks and by utilizing mentorship, their possibilities of being employed to professions consistent with their education is improved.

The aim of the project is to support persons with immigrant backgrounds, in other words international talents, positioning into the Finnish labor market. The goal of the project is to develop, experiment and distribute models and practices of mentoring and systematize mentoring and utilization of networks. Professional networks are promoted by enhancing their competences to search, find and develop their working-life connections to support their path to employment. On the international level of the project, critical factors of immigrants’ mentoring practices are identified, criteria for effective mentoring is created by utilizing respective countries experiments and terminology of the topic is clarified. Additionally, together with the international partners, course of action for networking and more efficient encountering between the employers and employees will be developed.

As a result of the project, practices of mentoring are systematized which enables identifying the benefits, the practices and the goals of mentoring as part of the employment process. Additionally, utilization of mentoring for employment and the cooperation with the employers is facilitated. Immigrants’ professional networks to the working life is developed and supports their employment to the economic life of the area. Mentoring methods are polished, and criteria are set for mentoring, which also enables evaluation of mentoring. The goal is that the businesses and employers of the area find it easier to employ or provide an internship to a mentored international talent.

In Finland, the project is implemented in cooperation between Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS), Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LAMK) and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK). Internationally the project partners with KU Leuven (Belgium), Economic House of Osteend (Belgium) and Beyond the Horizon (Belgium). Duration of the project: 1/2019-12/2021.

Essi Hillgren, Turku University of Applied Sciences,

Jonna Heikkilä, Turku University of Applied Sciences,