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Reducing youth unemployment: inclusive mentoring in Basel, Switzerland


In the last 11 years around 550 young people have taken part in the mentoring programme in Basel. Reflecting the priorities of the programme's initial funder (Kantonal Office for Gender Equality), the programme started with a higher proportion of female mentees, but over time the gender balance has evened out. As a result of their participation in the programme, many young people have secured a position in their chosen profession and further developed their career aspirations. For example, take Gentiana's journey (not her real name). Originally from Albania, but now living in Basel, Gentiana decided that she was interested in becoming a care assistant. She contacted hospitals and care homes and, in her second round of applications, succeeded in getting an interview and a short term holiday placement. Following this, her employer agreed to give her some preparatory training, and her mentor supported her throughout this by preparing her for her appraisals. However, during this training time, Gentiana realised that she didn't want to work as a care assistant but as a registered nurse. Her mentor helped her identify what educational gaps she needed to fill, and supported and encouraged her in the application process for nursing.

But it is not just the mentees, the mentors themselves also benefit from participating. As well as experiencing the satisfaction of helping others, many develop a deeper understanding of young people and the challenges they face as well as developing skills and experience that can help with their own professional development.

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Emmeline Cooper wrote this case study for Governance International on 26 September 2011

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