Meet Your Mentor Students Excited to Start

Friday the 6th of November UvA students who applied for Meet Your Mentor met during a warming up session with the project manager Meltem Halaceli.

More than 30 students and almost 80 mentors applied for this program. Meet Your Mentor was promoted as a pilot at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG) and Humanities (FGw). Halaceli was able to match 29 students with 29 professionals who work in several large (international) companies, (local) governmental departments and academic institutions and universities. Applying was still possible until 18th of November 2020. After that students can apply through this form for the Spring program to start in March, with a deadline on the 19th of February 2021. The kick off for the Spring program will be on the 18th of March 2021.

The students were asked for the reasons behind their application. Here’s what they said:

“I recognized myself by the description ‘niet-westerse achtergrond’. And felt this is about me and wanted to apply immediately!”

“I had read an article in De Volkskrant about discrimination on the jobmarket against young Dutch people with a non-western background and felt I had to take action. I also hope to set an example by participating in this important program and that other students will follow.”

“As a young woman who is an MBA-student with an ethnic minority background I have always lacked role models and don’t feel at home anywhere. I am aware I will be working in an environment that will be dominated by white males. I applied for Meet Your Mentor, because I think this program can help me with providing a professional who can show me how to find a job where I will feel at home professionally.”

The session continued with more information about the program and expressing what Meet Your Mentor expects of the students and what they can expect from the program. For example, that students learn how to create their personal branding that includes their talents and experiences and asks for commitment and an open communication. The online training modules aim to help students gain more clarity about which learning goals they have in terms of professional and personal skills. Halaceli showed a video on the digital platform in which former mentees motivated them to communicate openly with their mentors and what the mentoring program had brought them.

At the end the students were asked what they think of becoming a community. Students expressed their need for a network of mentees and want to form a community and wish to continue with meeting each other physically and online. They really want to follow each other’s progress during the program and help each other out along the way when necessary.

All are ready for the kick off at the 26th of November when they will meet their mentors for the first time. We are happy that the president of the UvA Executive Board, Geert ten Dam, will be present online to welcome them.

Meet Your Mentor is an online mentoring program in which Dutch students with an ethnic minority background and first-generation students are matched with a professional from the public or private sector. The program was developed, designed and evaluated at the Vrije University between 2016-18 under the supervision of Maurice Crul together with ECHO, the expertise centre for Diversity and Inclusion. The Ministry of Social Affairs of the Dutch government financed the development of the digital learning platform. The VU succeeded in developing a valuable and unique program that effectively supports Dutch students with an ethnic minority background to gain a better position on the job market.

Stay tuned for an update after the kick off.

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