Akava’s mentoring programme for highly educated immigrants

Akava and several of its affiliate unions have initiated a mentoring programme intended to promote the employment of highly educated asylum seekers and immigrants in Finland. Mentoring involves the sharing of practical information and experiences in different professional fields and the related labour market in Finland to support highly educated immigrants in finding employment or education.  

Mentoring is offered by Akava affiliate unions to highly educated immigrants who have been granted placement in a municipality or a residence permit. Mentoring is carried out locally by a pair of mentors representing the relevant professional field. The aim is to share experiential knowledge and provide peer support with a collegial approach, from one highly educated professional to another. Another aim is to provide immigrants with access to the networks of the highly educated.

The idea is that the mentor pair and the mentee represent the same profession, for example, members of the union for Social Science Professionals volunteer to serve as mentors for immigrants who have a degree or higher education studies in social sciences. Correspondingly, the members of Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK will mentor engineers with an academic degree or students in the field.

As far as possible, there are two mentors assigned for an individual mentee. The contact persons in the affiliate unions will search for suitable mentor pairs for those interested in mentoring. Mentoring is free of charge for the immigrant mentee.

Academic graduates or undergraduates who have received a residence permit are sought through TE offices across Finland as well as via social media and universities.

Mentoring is, if possible, carried out by a pair of two mentors. The model is comprised of 3–5 meetings with specific themes. Ethical guidelines for mentoring have been drawn up.

Mentoring is based on volunteer work and supported by the offices of the relevant affiliates and Akava. Mentoring will primarily be conducted in English.

Akava affiliate unions and the fields engaged in mentoring

  • Affiliate union  and profession, field
  • The Finnish Medical Association, doctors
  • The Finnish Psychological Association, psychologists
  • Rehabilitation Experts,  physiotherapists and occupational therapists
  • The Finnish Pharmacists’ Association, pharmacists, dispensing pharmacists
  • The Trade Union of Education OAJ, teachers, preschool teachers
  • The Finnish Union of University Professors, professors
  • Talentia Union of Professional Social Workers, social workers, Masters of Social Services
  • Social Science Professionals, Masters and Bachelors of Social Sciences
  • Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, architects
  • Union of Technical Professionals KT, engineers, municipal sector
  • Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland TEK, Masters in Technology
  • The Finnish Business School Graduates,   Masters of Economics, Business and Administration
  • The Union of Professional Business Graduates in Finland TRAL,  BBA graduates
  • The Association of Finnish Lawyers, lawyers
  • Akava Special Branches, translators/interpreters, dental hygienists, professionals in elderly care, hospitality management, museum, youth work, physical education, archives, arts, culture, communications and administration

Mentoring meetings

The model for mentoring is adapted to suit each individual field. The pair of mentors and the mentee meet at a place suggested by the mentor pair. One meeting takes about 1.5 hours. There are 3–5 meetings.

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