Social Cohesion Opinion

Tackling the exclusion of minorities in Europe

Mentoring: towards a culture of inclusion in Europe

"Mustang Mentoring 2011" (CC BY-NC 2.0) by bujiie

In Europe we know that Portugal, France and Italy are the most unequal countries according to OECD household incomes.
 In addition to income inequality, inequality of opportunities may result from different types of discrimination, including discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or religion. Widespread inequalities lead to the exclusion of minorities. Despite the fact that ethnic, cultural and religious diversity is a central feature and value of the European Union minority exclusion still persists in the EU.

Migration has been a major source of diversity in Europe: the number of foreign- born population in the EU has been estimated at over 40 million or 8.8 per cent of the total population of 495 million.Of these, two thirds have been born outside the European Union. 
National and linguistic minorities or historic minorities are another important source of ethnic and cultural diversity in the European Union.
 Yet, there are persistent patterns of inequality between the situation of foreigners, immigrants and minority groups in the European labour market and the situation of the overall majority populations.

Working towards a solution: Mentoring programmes

Working with partner companies the goal is to mobilize a network of volunteer mentors to help students during their studies. The mentors work alongside teachers and fulfill roles that vary depending on the needs and expectations expressed by the mentee.

The 3 priorities of mentoring:

  • Helping students build their self-confidence, by advising and guiding students in their choice of vocation, supporting them through any difficulties, and helping them develop skills.
  • Introducing students to the working world by sharing own working experience with mentees, teaching them company codes and helping them plan and build their careers.
  • Giving students access to mentors’ professional networks whilst helping them to build up their own networks.

Why should these measures be introduced throughout Europe?

There are many talented people amongst minority groups who suffer from discrimination, not only in France but everywhere in Europe. We need to empower them and help them succeed in their professional goals.
 How can this be achieved? The goal is to launch mentoring programs right across in Europe. Today more than ever, we need to achieve greater mobilization of resources for these kind of programs to ensure social cohesion and to increase investments in public policy concerning youth minorities in Europe.
 Youth mentoring programs are the best chance for European minorities to become self-actualized and integrated members of the European society.