The integration and employment of internationals through mentorship.
Text: Skyler Bentley Hall
The 1st of November marked a celebratory day for graduates of the Greater Copenhagen Career Program (GCCP), a six-month career programme designed to assist university students with their job search in Denmark. The ceremony was held at Rådhuspladsen with the Mayor of Employment and Integration, Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard, acknowledging the commitment and success of participants in 2021. Through monthly seminars, networking events with Danish companies, and a personalised mentor, the GCCP encourages the integration and employment of graduates in Denmark.
Led by Business House Copenhagen (Københavns Erhvervshus), the GCCP is funded by Copenhagen Municipality and EU Social Funds. Organisations collaborating with the GCCP also included Copenhagen Capacity, Garuda A/S, Relocare, Perspectiv, Nelleberg Potentialeudvikling, Science City Lyngby, IDA, Prosa, DM, Djøf, SIRA, AKA and numerous educational institutions in Denmark.
This year I was honoured to participate as a mentor, offering guidance to a Scottish Master’s student while connecting with professionals throughout Copenhagen. As a result, since 2015, the GCCP has graduated six hundred and forty students, matched one hundred and sixty mentor-mentees annually, and successfully achieved a sixty percent employability rate.
"I was lucky to get Bridget as a mentee - she is an extremely hard-working, bright person, highly motivated in building a successful career. She listens carefully and contributes to a good discussion. Her determination and eagerness to learn and develop became the key factors of the project's success and made my work as a mentor easy and highly satisfying." - Valeria Lebedieva, Virksomhedskonsulent, Københavns Kommune
Mentor and mentee match
Matching the mentor and mentee is an essential aspect of the GCCP, and Bridget Cerafoglil speaks highly about her experience. Originally from Italy, Bridget has been in Denmark for a little over two years. After completing her Master’s degree at Aarhus University, she successfully secured employment as a Sales and Operations Manager with Globe Publishing. Bridget shares some of her takeaways.
Why did you join the GCCP?
While studying in Denmark, I liked the country and system on which society is based, so I considered staying permanently after graduation. My main concern at this stage was whether or not I could fit in the job market after leaving student status. While conversing with an international friend, I learned about the GCCP and applied with success.
How did your studies contribute to your current role?
I was enrolled as a Master student at Aarhus University in the Intercultural Studies and International Communication programme. This provided me with the knowledge needed to manage and succeed in any kind of communication exchange between different linguistic and cultural parties, such as international business negotiations or intercultural conflicts. This expertise is revealing itself quite valuable for my current role. The experience of studying abroad helped expand my perspective while observing the world around me. I developed a problem-solving mindset and an adaptive attitude.
What were the benefits of working with a mentor?
The work I pursued with my mentor made me feel comfortable and aware of my possibilities in the Danish job market, either from a professional or personal point of view. After setting and tailoring my profile to past experiences and future ambitions, we discussed the different rules and aspects of the labour market in Denmark. I learned what to expect, what to provide the employers, and what to ask as an employee. One of the main takeaways was building awareness about my professional profile and the idea that being a foreigner is not a negative but a strong asset to advertise.
Why should students consider the GCCP?
Being an international student is an amazing but challenging experience. It could be challenging to find your space in a society with different values and different labour cultures. For this reason, I consider it very relevant to receive help and support during this process, as the GCCP aims to do. I also enjoyed meeting people from different countries and backgrounds. Exchanging perspectives and ideas made this experience even more meaningful.
Learn more about GCCP: https://international.kk.dk/artikel/what-greater-copenhagen-career-program or contact Malene Stausholm Perkins, Relocare Group ApS, to become a mentor: firstname.lastname@example.org