Research-Practice Partnerships: Three Experiences
Peter De Cuyper, sociologist and research manager at the university of Leuven; Judie M. Gannon, PhD MCIPD FIH, is a Senior Lecturer in the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring Studies (ICCaMS) in Oxford Brookes Business School, at Oxford Brookes University; and Xavier Alarcon is PhD candidate in University of Girona will share their work from a Research-Practice Partnership perspective.
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.
Developing the evidence base: what do mentoring scheme coordinators do? – Judie M. Gannon
There is an extensive evidence base on understanding mentoring relationships, formal and informal, and recognizing the emergence of formal mentoring schemes across different sectors and situations. However, what is less well understood is the wider development of formal mentoring schemes and their management. Commentators have identified a rise in mentoring where contemporary organisations create formal mentoring schemes to address a range of issues from; socialization, personal development, effective transition, tackling diversity and inclusivity and enhancing wellbeing. Despite this perceived escalation and the diversity purported in formal mentoring schemes there are few studies which capture the rationale behind these trends. Academic research does exist on mentoring schemes in specific settings, however, no capstone portrayal of formal mentoring schemes or how they are managed exists. We know even less about those who manage formal mentoring schemes, their skills and backgrounds, and how they choregraph schemes to benefit mentors, mentees and a raft of other stakeholders.
Psychological Wellbeing of Unaccompanied Migrant Youth in the Transition to Adulthood: The Role of Youth Mentoring in Barcelona – Xavier Alarcón
During the last few years, the number of unaccompanied youths arriving to Europe through Mediterranean routes has increased steadily. Prior empirical evidence shows that during their settlement in host countries they are exposed to a great variety of environmental stressors, which have an impact on their psychological and emotional wellbeing. This research aims to examine the effects on psychological and educational outcomes of a mentoring programme with unaccompanied immigrant youths who legally became “adults” in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Data in this mixed-methods study was gathered from 44 surveys with mentored (treatment) and non-mentored (control group) youths who recently turned 18, as well as through thirty semi-structured interviews with mentored youth, their adult mentors and non-mentored youth. We followed them up for seven months between 2018 and 2019 to see if participation in the mentoring programme was effective in overcoming challenges with regard to their wellbeing and educational trajectories in their coming of age. Our findings from both the survey and interview data indicated that, compared to the non-mentored youths, participation in the mentoring programme improved the mentored youths’ self-esteem, resilience and hope, as well as their desired or expected educational outcomes in the new context. We conclude that well-targeted and problem-specific mentoring programmes have a relevant role as a protective factor for the unaccompanied migrant youths’ mental health. The social and political implications of these outcomes are also discussed, providing information for administrations, practitioners and immigrant organisations on how interventions can offer effective networks of support for the settlement and social inclusion of unaccompanied immigrant youths.
De Cuyper, Peter; Vandermeerschen, Hanne; Purkayastha, Damini; 2019. Migrant mentoring to work: defining an old-but-innovative instrument. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring; 2019; Vol. 17; iss. 2; pp. 108 – 121. https://doi.org/10.24384/cy2r-jd97
De Cuyper peter & Hanne Vandermeerschen (2019), Mentoring to work for highly skilled immigrants. An effective tool against brain waste? An analysis of an innovative policy instrument. Leuven, HIVA-KULEuven.
Purkayastha D. & De Cuyper P. (2019), Best practices and critical success factors in mentoring to work for refugees and migrants: an evidence based study. Leuven: HIVA-KU Leuven.
Abbott, P., Goosen, X., & Coetzee, J. (2010). Developing and supporting coordinators of structured mentoring schemes in South Africa. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 8(1), 10-pages.
Gannon, J.M. & Washington, R. (2019) Many Things to Many People – Formal Mentoring Schemes and their Management 2019: a report.