MENTORING: THE PATH TO SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL INCLUSION OF YOUNG PEOPLE WITH A MIGRANT BACKGROUND?
Based on 8 years of field experience and more than 4,000 mentoring duos, DUO for a JOB publishes a new edition of its report to give a voice to young people and make a series of recommendations.
Why this report?
In 2019, DUO for a JOB wrote its first experience report. The first objective of this report was to give a voice to the young people it accompanies, to illustrate their lives and to draw attention to their difficulties. The second objective of the report was to show that there are solutions, that if they have the right stepping-stone, young people with an immigrant background can find their way. The third objective was to offer concrete avenues for action, and to participate in a movement for more structural changes in order to provide effective responses on an individual and human level, but also on an economic and societal level.
The federal and regional governments of this country are aiming for an employment rate of 80% by 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal, the inclusion of young people of foreign origin in Belgian society, and more particularly in the labour market, is a key lever. This new edition of our experience report, based on the accompaniment of more than 4,000 young people, unfortunately confirms the image of a two-speed labour market. Inequalities and difficulties in accessing the labour market for young people with an immigrant background persist, despite their diplomas.
As with the diversity of profiles at DUO, these difficulties are heterogeneous. However, some barriers are common. Languages and lack of relevant experience were identified as the main difficulties. At the beginning of their support, they mainly identified difficulties related to job search tools and techniques. With hindsight, the alumni mentees put more emphasis on the lack of self-confidence, the lack of relevant networks and discrimination.
In addition, the Covid-19 health crisis has created or reinforced new barriers for young people: increased social and financial difficulties, difficulties in accessing public services and integration services, difficulties related to digitalisation, etc. This crisis has not only widened the employment gap, but also aggravated the digital and social divide.
In view of this, DUO for a JOB reiterates the need to consider two types of solutions. On the one hand, the report highlights the concrete impact of personalised support on the difficulties of these young people. On the other hand, the report also identifies a series of actions that are necessary to create a framework for the inclusion of all.
Mentoring, an individualised solution
Mentoring significantly increases young people’s access to the labour market through a long-term integration process. In addition to the quantitative results in terms of employment, the individualised support also enables mentees to develop other skills that improve their situation on the road to employment and, more generally, their well-being.
“I came to Belgium with no-one and found myself in a society where I had to learn everything on my own. But DUO reached out to me and I didn’t have to make the journey alone. I wasn’t used to all this kindness in my life, it seemed really incredible that there were people so dedicated to the cause of someone who was unknown and very different”. A mentee.
👉 The quantitative impact
In 8 years, DUO for a JOB has contributed to the following solutions:
520 internships or trainings
That is 1,800 positive solutions for the mentees who have participated in the programme since 2013 in our different branches (Brussels, Liege, Antwerp, Ghent, Aalst and Mechelen)
👉 The qualitative impact
- Improvement of their self-confidence and autonomy
- Development of a professional project and discovery of a sector, a culture and a language
- Expansion of social and professional networks and knowledge of job search tools and channels.
In the framework of a Social Impact Bond (2016), the positive impact of DUO for a JOB mentoring was scientifically validated thanks to an external evaluation carried out by the Brussels Employment Observatory, and academically validated by the ULiège. This evaluation showed a much better integration rate for mentees compared to the control group (similar in terms of characteristics) which did not benefit from the programme. The impact study confirmed that the mentoring offered by DUO for a JOB is a profitable investment.
Structural changes needed
The transition to a truly inclusive society can only be achieved if, alongside individual support, real structural changes are made. Existing systems must be rethought on the basis of their needs, by putting ourselves in their place and listening to them. This is why we have formulated a series of recommendations based on the analysis of existing obstacles and barriers.