Kvinfo Mentor Network
Copenhagen and Odense
Type of Information
Beatriz Hernandez de Fuhr (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
International contact person
KVINFO’s Mentor Network matches women of a refugee and immigrant background with women who are firmly established members of the Danish workforce. The parties are called mentees and mentors, and matching is based on mentee’s education, profession and personal wishes.
Today, KVINFO’s mentornetværk has more than 3300 participants and two offices that cover the major cities of the country. Through a one-on-one meeting of equals, mentors provide access to their professional networks, and provide appropriate advice regarding job applications, job interviews, workplace culture, reassessment of job possibilities, etc.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
Immigrating to a new country is always challenging and often implies the acquisition of a new language, a break in ones professional career, a decline in social and economic status, and acquirement of knowledge about the ways of the new society. Mentoring can be the key for mentee to gain access to the Danish labour market and Danish society in general.
Mentors, on the other hand, are often motivated by a wish to contribute to the integration processes on a one-on-one basis and achieve knowledge and insight into the obstacles and challenges that citizens with ethnic minority background meet. Through a mentoring relation, mentors get to put their experience to new use and hence gain new insights and perspectives on their own life and career.
How does it work
To become a mentee, you have to be able to answer postively to questions such as the following: Have you recently moved to Denmark? Would you like to be part of a network but don’t know where to start? Or would you like to meet someone who can familiarize you with how Danish society works? Do you need help with job-seeking, or advice about education and training options? Would you like someone to talk with in Danish? Or would you like to meet women in similar professions to your own in order to discuss your career opportunities in Denmark?
Once mentees have registered they receive an email welcoming them to the Network, and within 2-4 weeks they are invited for an interview where they can talk about their professional and personal profile and what they would like to get out of the mentoring process. Subsequently, the staff of the mentoring program seek to match them with a suitable mentor from their database.
Since the project’s inception in 2003, approximately 5000 participants have passed through the network with the matching of around 2000 mentor/mentee partnerships. More than 500 mentees have entered into employment as a direct result of their participation in the program. 30 percent of the mentees experience that the mentor network has contributed to them finding a job, 35 percent have begun studying with support from their mentor, and 77 percent have improved their Danish language skills.
It is important to have proper matching between the mentors and mentees. It is equally important to have committed mentors and mentees who are willing to open up and want to engage in their mutual relationship.
Who will benefit?
Immigrant women who have moved to Denmark.
Women already living in Denmark who get to put their experience to new use and hence gain new insights and perspectives on their own life and career.
Source of funding and Resources used
KVINFO’s Mentor Network is funded by The Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs. It is a grant-maintained self-governing institution under the Ministry of Culture.