MentorProgramma Friesland, a joint project run by ROC Friesland College, ROC Friese Poort, NHL University and Stenden University of Applied Science, is a
program that matches students to a mentor. The mentors are mainly derived from businesses and industry, non-profit organisations (employees and entrepreneurs) and from Universities of Applied
Science (students). Aim of the programme is amongst others development of talents of young people and support of students when necessary.
The mentoring programme is an addition to the regular counseling at schools. The idea is that the student is looking for something and the mentor has something to offer. In close consultation with both parties, the programme looks for the best connection between “supply and demand". After the initial meeting, the mentee (the student) and mentor make their own agreements on the frequency and content of the mentoring-meetings. The programme organisation supports the mentor during the period of contact with the mentee. In addition, seminars and meetings are organized for the mentors to get to know each other and share experiences.
Real life is immense more complicated than even the best textbook can tell. Therefore, MentorProgramma Friesland has taken an important step. The programme called in the help of socially successful citizens. Men and women who personally experienced the way to make it in life, socially, educationally and professionally. People that can be seen as role models. This led in 1997 to the mentor programme. Initially intended to increase opportunities for students with educational disadvantage because of a foreign ethnicity. But soon all students of the participating educational instituted that declared that they needed assistance in study- work- and life issues, could get the support of a mentor. Mentors are, like students, from all walks of life. Some have had a brilliant career, some are only just beginning. What binds them is the life experience and expertise they have and the desire to share it with others. Over the years, the programme has won several awards with their innovative approach on mentoring, a few examples are: Award of ‘Je Maintiaindrai Fonds Friesland’; first prize of the ‘CINOP Week of Learning’ in 2002; The ‘Anti-racism award of the City of Leeuwarden’ in 2001; The ‘Arbeid- en Economieprijs’ of the National &-campaign in 2006. Also in the CINOP Mentor-suitcase for setting up mentoring programs, the programme is mentioned as a good practice for mentoring projects.
The Institute for Integration and Social Efficacy (Instituut voor Integratie en Sociale Weerbaarheid) performs a nationwide evaluation under 26 mentoring
projects in The
Netherlands. The MentorProgramme Friesland is one them. An important part of this evaluation focuses on whether these processes are effective, in other words, does one-to-one mentoring support the positive development of young people? To gain insight in this matter, mentors and mentees are asked 3 times during the mentoring process to fill in a digital questionnaire. In April 2011, the first results for the MPF program were available. The research shows that one-to-one mentoring from voluntary mentors has a very positive effect on psychological outcomes and skills of the mentees. Due to the mentor programme, the young mentees are more satisfied with their lives, believe more in their own abilities and have developed their social and cognitive skills compared to when they started the mentor program. In addition, it appears that the mentor support his or her mentee particularly in a psychosocial way (stimulating the emotional development). Instrumental support (the concrete support in achieving the mentees goals in school and/or work) increases during the project. Aiming for both types of support, like the mentor programme, is crucial for a positive development of youngsters. In addition, the research has shown that the programme is a good way to enhance the involvement of the businesses on the community and thus increase the quality of life.
November 2011, the programme won the Helffer Kootkar Award, a Dutch national prize that is awarded by the Oranje Fonds to promote opportunities for the underprivileged. The purpose of the award is to stimulate social citizenship. The mentor programme was nominated for the Helffer Kootkar Award in recognition of the added value that diversity of talent brings to organisations and the contribution of mentoring to mentors and work organisations. The programme developed a substantial and successful expansion of the existing practice in Leeuwarden. This project, more than any other, succeeds in linking years of experience to innovation and broadening.