including hands-on report and interview with Shania Shin, Mentoring Programme Officer at COME-Chamber of Multicultural Enterprises
International students are the third-largest group of new-comers to Finland. However, every second immigrant holding a Bachelor‘s degree (vs. 25% of Finns) and every fifth immigrant holding a master’s degree or PhD (vs. 5% of Finns) is overqualified for a position. In order to tackle this situation, the EntryPoint programme was developed, which mainly targets international students holding degrees from Finnish higher education institutions. The six-month-long EntryPoint Mentoring Programme has developed a two-way learning and integration journey with the goal of integrating highly educated immigrants. Through this programme, both students and enterprises, i.e. Nokia and others (see below), profit from the dynamics of migration in very tangible ways.
EntryPoint brings international talents (mentees) and Finnish professionals (mentors) together. The mentees are Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. students of any year in their respective studies. Students apply for EntryPoint through their Finnish institutes of higher education, which are close collaborators of the programme. Mentors are professionals and corporate partners from private, public and third-sector organisations. EntryPoint has a three-dimensional learning model, consisting of pair meetings (e.g. between mentor and mentee), subject-specific group meetings for up to 20 participants who share a common interest on a certain subject (e.g. company visits, interactive workshops), and collective meetings for about 100 participants (e.g. networking events, orientation). Once a mentor and a mentee are matched, they both sign a Mentoring Partnership Agreement. Mentors and mentees can decide themselves which topics will be covered and how often they will meet (once a month typically). All participants, however, are provided with a Mentoring Toolkit that includes guidelines and instructions to help plan the partnership. A Learning Diary for the mentees records their progress, enhances their ability to reflect on their career, and encourages them to act on their reflections independently.
EntryPoint strengthens and lives by the idea of integration as a "two-way street": integration is thus less of a burden, but rather a mutually beneficial process and challenge – both migrants and corporations are dedicated to it and benefit from it. For the mentees, professionalisation opportunities and job chances adequate to their qualifications arise. Enterprises, on the other hand, can keep their finger on the pulse of international labour markets. Furthermore, the programme enables them to attract new talents and cultivate innovation through multidisciplinary networking. Diversity dynamics play a crucial role in shaping overall EntryPoint activities. All participants learn through the activities of the threedimensional learning model to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s different cultural, educational, professional background and perspective. Moreover, EntryPoint’s toolkit includes a brief introduction on multicultural issues, thus supporting selfstudy to those involved.
Target Groups for Transfer:
Professionals with an international mindset regardless of the industry in which they are active as well as international students holding a degree (Bachelor, Master, Ph.D.) at educational institutions
Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce: COME-project (Chamber of Multicultural Enterprises)
EntryPoint in a Nutshell:
EntryPoint is a mutually beneficial partnership and a two-way learning and integrating process over a six-month mentoring period. Time commitment: about 2-3 working days in total, depending on the needs of those involved)