New experiences and findings
Suzanne de Ruig & Natasha Koper from The Netherlands will talk about the youth-initiated mentoring relationships concept, which is a new concept in mentoring field, related to the relationships that youth have developed naturally with an adult from within their social network, such as family members, neighbours, teachers, sport coaches or acquaintances. (more)
Peter De Cuyper will talk about mentoring programmes that are focus on work. He will propose a debate about sharing minimum criteria for this mentoring field. (more)
Youth-initiated mentoring for at-risk youth in different contexts: Experiences and evidence – Suzanne de Ruig & Natasha Koper
Most mentoring organizations aim to develop a meaningful relationship between two strangers. This type of mentoring, that is, formal mentoring, comes with inherent difficulties such as a lack of volunteers, problems in the development of trust or early relationship break down. Youth-initiated mentoring is an innovative, hybrid form of mentoring, that may offer solutions to some of these difficulties. Like in informal mentoring, youth-initiated mentoring relationships are relationships that youth have developed naturally with an adult from within their social network, such as family members, neighbors, teachers, sport coaches or acquaintances. From meta-analytic studies we know that approximately 75% of youth have a natural mentor and that their presence can have an enormous positive effect on the development of children. By appointing this supportive adult as mentor of the child, the relationship is formalized and thus strengthened, like in formal mentoring. Youth-initiated mentoring, thus, shows potential to support at-risk youth in ways that might be more effective and easy than formal mentoring.
In this workshop Suzanne de Ruig (founder of the YIM Foundation, the Netherlands) and Natasha Koper (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) will present experiences from practice and evidence from scientific research on youth-initiated mentoring. The YIM Foundation has several years of experience with youth-initiated mentoring for at-risk youth populations in different contexts, such as schools, foster care and mental health care.
They will answer questions such as:
- What is youth-initiated mentoring and how does it differ from formal and informal mentoring?
- What is the theoretical foundation of youth-initiated mentoring?
- What are strengths and pitfalls of youth-initiated mentoring?
- How can youth-initiated mentoring be implemented in different contexts?
Questions and problems follow from the presented practice-based and evidence-based knowledge. In this interactive workshop participants are invited to discuss these and brainstorm about potential solutions that are approached from different perspectives (mentor, youth, parent, professional).
This workshop is intended for participants from practice, policy and science interested in the potential of youth-initiated mentoring. Prior knowledge of youth-initiated mentoring is not required.
Mentoring to work: towards minimal quality criteria – Peter de Cuyper
Labour market integration is considered a key indicator for measuring migrant success in a host country. Despite numerous labour market interventions to address the large unemployment gap, migrants struggle to find work in their host societies. In an effort to address this, an increasingly popular yet out-of-the-box intervention in this context is ‘mentoring to work’. While there has been a long tradition (especially in the Anglo-Saxon world) of youth mentoring, workplace mentoring (mentoring at work) or mentoring in education, mentoring to work is a relatively new concept that is making headway primarily in Europe (and Canada). While mentoring to work adopts several aspects from other forms of mentoring, it addresses a different set of challenges and follows a different trajectory when compared to them. The heightened interest in mentoring to work for migrants has a potential downside: it entails not just a proliferation of initiatives, but also includes initiatives with incredibly diverse content that fall under the label of mentoring (e.g.: jobcoaching, intergenerational coaching…). Given this, there is a risk that mentoring will develop into a sort of catch-all term (a buzzword), making the actual scope and meaning of the term unclear. The inherent risk is that the specificity of mentoring will be lost, and in so doing cause the tool to lose its impact and credibility. A second risk is the fact that the field of mentoring to work is quite young and quality is not always guarantied (cfr Vandermeerschen & De Cuyper: 2018). So one of the most important challenges is to develop mentoring to work practices in a qualitative way.
In this workshop we first present our definition of mentoring to work and invite scholars and practioners to comment on the conceptualization (cfr De Cuyper ea, 2019). In a second part starting from challenges mentoring to work projects face, minimal criteria for mentoring to work programs will be discussed with the participants. Those minimal criteria are derived from existing quality labels used in other contexts combined with findings from evaluations of existing mentoring to work projects (Vandermeerschen & De Cuyper: 2018). Final goal of the workshop is to find a consensus about both the definition as the minimal quality criteria.