Social networks affect many aspects of the migration process and play a vital role in migrants’ lives. Person’s capacity to move to a particular destination such as find a job, open a business, participate in the development of their new country, and access health care can all be directly impacted by and dependent upon their social network. However, lack of knowledge about the networking practices is one of the major impediments of building networks of immigrants in Finland.
When you start a new life in a different society, one of the main challenges is to find information regarding different areas in the host country, especially information regarding jobs and labor market. You will soon be faced with a fact that most of the jobs are hidden. It’s been assessed that over 80 percent of available jobs are not advertised. The only way to learn about hidden jobs is networking and connecting with people. Therefore, it is important to develop networks with the people of the host country. Networking supports in getting information, new friends and jobs. Furthemore, it promotes the process of integration in a new society. All these activities lead in making a better functioning and sustainable society.
The importance of social networks is identified as a key to internationals economic and social success in destination countries and to help the integration process. Social networking also assists to utilize the person’s expertise effectively. It is important to keep in mind that networking is not only about business contacts – it is also about making new friends. It is about gathering information, showing others your expertise and getting to know the cultural rules and social norms of the new country.
Highlighting the importance of networking, the MESH project aims to empower internationals through networking and mentoring. The goal of the project is to develop, experiment and distribute models and practices of mentoring and systematize mentoring and utilization of networks. Professional networks are promoted by enhancing your competence to search, find and develop working life connections to support your path to employment.
The project is funded by European Social Fund. The duration of the project is 1/2019– 12/2021. In Finland, MESH-project is implemented in cooperation between Turku University of Applied Sciences, LAB University of Applied Sciences and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The project has also international partners in Belgium. The international partners are KU Leuven, Economic House of Ostend and Beyond the Horizon.
TAMK and Networking activities
Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has been working with the MESH project together with the other partners of Finland and Belgium to develop mentoring and networking process and models for international talents. The main activities of MESH project to empowering immigrants through networking include:
- Developing a web page including the theory and practices of networking
- Developing networking steps model
- Piloting the workshops
- Improving the activities according to the feedback
- Sustainability of the model
Networking steps model
As a part of mesh project, TAMK has developed a networking steps model to help the international talents for effective networking. There are seven steps in this model and each step include various tools and tips for developing effective networking.
In autumn 2020 and spring 2021, TAMK has organized 10 virtual workshops with the international talents in order to help them to develop their networks and utilize their expertise in a new society. In the feedback of the workshops, participants mentioned that network workshops help them a lot to get familiar with the various tools, techniques and tips to develop their network in Finland. Talents also agreed that methods of the workshops, such as discussion and small group activities, were very effective to learn the Finnish culture and society. The participants have also given their feedback on how to improve the workshops and how to make the sessions more effective and successful. Based on participants recommendations and piloting experiences, the workshop organizers took necessary measures to make the future networking workshops livelier and more effective.
Upcoming MESH Networking Workshops
MESH Project and TAMK are organizing a new pilot in cooperation with the International House Tampere. Please, see the timetable and content below. For further information, please contact Tampere MESH Team: Sanna Keskikuru (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nasrin Jinia, (email@example.com) and Minna Niemi, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 14.09. 2021, from 16.15 to 18.00. Beginning: preparation of mindset and goal setting
- 21.09.2021, from 16.15 to 18.00. Action plan with pair and facilitator
- 28.09.2021, From 16.15 to18.00. Action plan with pair and facilitator
- 12.10. 2021, from 16.15 to 18.00 Getting together – check up
- 26.10. 2021, from 16.15 to 18.00 Experience sharing and closing with pair
Please sign up for Networking Program by using this form.