Mentoring takes and gives – for refugees and immigrants it can open doors to Finnish working life

3 min
Startup Refugees, Telia and Tietoevry mentoring program Startup Refugees, Telia and Tietoevry mentoring program

Together with Telia and Tietoevry, Startup Refugees is launching a mentoring program to support refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants to find employment in the IT industry. Startup Refugees will be organizing the popular mentoring program with its partners for the seventh time now.

Refugees and immigrants are international experts. However, many need information about the labor market and networks in their own field in order to find their place in Finnish working life. The mentoring program lasts ten weeks and consists of one-on-one meetings between the mentor and the mentee, as well as joint meetings between all participants.

About 20 professionals will be selected for the mentoring program, all of whom will receive a personal mentor from Telia or Tietoevry. Mentoring pairs are selected based on competence and professional interests. There are professionals from ICT, coding, sales, marketing and administration. This year, there are people to be mentored from at least Iraq, Iran and Ukraine.

"The mentoring program is a great way to provide personal guidance in job hunting and building important networks. So far, 76 people have participated in the program, about 60 percent of whom have found jobs shortly after the mentoring program," says Arkan Aal-Owayef, Startup Refugees' Skills Development Manager.

The mentoring program is part of Telia and Tietoevry's responsibility work. Cooperation with Startup Refugees has been appreciated among employees because of the concreteness it offers. Employees of companies can participate in the program during working hours.

"Obstacles to equality are often related to unconscious prejudices or lack of understanding. Immigrants are discriminated against, and that is why we have chosen the equality and diversity of working communities as the focus of our cooperation. The purpose of promoting equality is to prevent discrimination, secure equal opportunities for everyone, and eliminate inequality at work due to discrimination. Together with Startup Refugees, we continue to work to ensure that creators and job opportunities find each other," says Telia Finland's Sustainability Manager Ira Vainio.

"We have worked long-term to strengthen digital equality, and our cooperation with Startup Refugees, which began in 2018, is in many ways meaningful. We are implementing the mentoring program for the fourth time now, and our employees have again enthusiastically joined along. By supporting immigrants in developing their digital skills, we support the construction of their future and working life. The technology sector is in need of talented people, and diverse work communities are a strength in this, as in many other sectors," says Jonna Peltola, Tietoevry's director of communications.

For Startup Refugees, cooperation with companies is an important part of the organization’s operations.

"Startup Refugees wants to build a diverse, equal and cooperative society, where every immigrant can find their place and settle in. This is not possible without business partnerships, that's why the mentoring program implemented with Telia and Tietoevry is even more important," Startup Refugees CEO Aicha Manai says.

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