E.g., 09/30/2023
E.g., 09/30/2023
Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants' Employment Outcomes
January 2015

Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants' Employment Outcomes

Mentoring—an experienced individual coaching or advising a more junior partner or peer—is increasingly recognized in Europe as a tool for advancing the labor market integration of disadvantaged individuals, including immigrants. Employment-oriented mentoring programs have the end goal of employment for the mentee, but also aim to achieve important objectives along the way that can promote employment success, including development of social and cognitive skills, expansion of socioprofessional networks, and improved self-confidence and self-reliance. 

For many countries in Europe and North America, the labor market outcomes of immigrant populations are worse than those of the native population. In addition, young adults and the low-skilled have been hit hardest by the economic crisis: among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, 26 percent of foreign-born youth and 20 percent of native-born youth are not in employment, education, or training. For highly skilled immigrants who do not enter an OECD country through a labor migration scheme, the pathway to suitable employment may not be straightforward, in which case mentoring initiatives can help new immigrants overcome the challenges posed by recognition of qualifications and lack of professional networks. 

This report, commissioned of MPI Europe by the King Baudouin Foundation, highlights a number of relevant "classic" one-on-one mentoring practices in Europe and North America, focusing on the role of different initiators and stakeholders, forms of collaboration, methods, and target groups. It focuses exclusively on apprenticeship and business or employment-related mentoring efforts that aim to generate sustained employment. The report also provides a case study of mentoring practices in Belgium, where the unemployment rate of people with an immigrant background is significantly higher than that of the native born. Finally, the report summarizes a number of key "ingredients," or elements, that several promising mentoring initiatives share. 

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

A. Focus on Newcomers and Immigrant-Origin Young Adults
B. Studying Mentoring Programs: An Overview of the Field

II. Mentoring and Practices in Europe and North America

A. The Role of Foundations and Civil-Society Actors
B. Government Initiatives
C. Private-Sector Initiatives
D. Specialized Interventions for Particular Groups

III. Case Study: Mentoring and Other Labor Market Insertion Initiatives in Belgium

A. Initiatives that Promote Diversity
B. Job Activation Programs for Low-Skilled Jobseekers
C. Labor Market Insertion Initiatives Focusing on Specific Groups
D. Characteristics of Mentoring Approaches in Belgium

IV. Recipe for Effective Mentoring Practices

A. Strategic Collaboration: The Multistakeholder Approach
B. Sustainability, Funding, and Long-Term Vision
C. Changing the Mindset
D. Having Clear Benchmarks and Ensuring Comprehensive Evaluation