VAMK successfully organised multiplier events, namely “Employability of Highly-skilled Migrant Women in STEAM – MentoraSTEAM Talk”, in Finland. Due to the COVID-19 social restrictions, two offline events were held in Vaasa (22.10.2021) and Seinäjoki (12.11.2021), which brought together highly skilled migrant women in STEAM and other social actors to discuss the employment situation of STEAM migrant women in Finland and in Europe – what was found and what are next steps.
MentoraSTEAM Talk in Vaasa was held by Thu Vo, a representative of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. The event received 9 attendees, in which there were 6 highly-skilled migrant women in STEAM and 3 representatives of other stakeholders. All participants got chance to present themselves and actively joined in the discussion of employability. The involvement of three representatives brought different viewpoints on the employment issues and what initiatives have been made to improve the situation with migrants and migrant women. As observed, migrant women participants shown interests in the MentoraSTEAM training package.
The event additionally observed the virtual presence of Babett Csokán (project coordinator) to introduce about the MentoraSTEAM project and statistics of the employment of migrant women in the Europe. The Policy Framework Guide which was the first deliverable of the project, including research activities, what were main results and where to find the document was presented to participants. The remaining time was dedicated to a meaningful discussion that encouraged the exchange of ideas and viewpoints of both target groups. Three representatives of other stakeholders shared their viewpoints on the situation, the issues with Finnish labour market and what was and will be done to improve them.
The best parts of the event were the discussion of highly skilled migrant women and other stakeholders; getting to know other migrant women, their challenges, experiences and possible solutions; getting to know issues in searching for jobs in the local market; presentation of other stakeholders on what has been done to improve the situation. Attendees enjoyed the discussion and hence suggested a longer duration for discussing in the upcoming events. Besides, organiser received several suggestions, including more involvement of other stakeholders in different fields; more address on the possible solutions and opportunities to solve the situation; more networking opportunities with other stakeholders; introduction to the integration programmes; more presentation of other courses and materials that help increase the employability of highly-skilled migrant women in STEAM; and more current employment opportunities provided.
MentoraSTEAM Talk in Seinäjoki was held by Carmen Vendelin-Laukkanen, a representative of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. The event received 7 attendees. Of the 7 attendees, 4 were highly-educated migrant women in STEAM and international business fields. Three stakeholders who work closely with migrants or on migrant issues attended. One of the stakeholders is also a migrant woman herself and works with immigrants from several smaller towns in the region (Alajärvi, Lappajärvi, Evijärvi and Vimpeli).
The event followed the same agenda as the meeting in Vaasa, started with the recorded presentation of Babett Csokán. Introduction explained that this was a multiplier event to introduce the project and to spread awareness. The stakeholders talked about the local context for immigrants and employment and shared suggestions for how to network and find jobs in the region and offered their services. There was a suggestion and interest in forming a local, private Facebook group so that the group could continue to have a safe space to share experiences. There was interest in MentoraSTEAM training package from both migrant women and shareholders.
All attendees were more than satisfied with the event. To them, the best parts of the day were the introduction of STEAM and recommendation for immigrants; hearing background stories, learning, people; the atmosphere, everyone was quite active and expressive about their background, needs of jobs etc., which brought attendees much motivation; the opportunity to network and share the knowledge about the tool that enable better communication and networking in the future. The organiser received several improving suggestions, including more people from different countries to share their own experience; more guided activity; face-to-face meeting with mentors; more introduction of the event goals; and the visibility to reach the audience before the meeting.
Both multiplier events organised in Finland were considerably affected by the COVID-19 situation. This limited the number of participants and inhibited some registered individuals from attending. However, it was noticed that attendees were given a comfortable space to express their emotions and opinions on the employability matters of highly-skilled migrant women in STEAM. The meaningful exchange of ideas and opinions from both target groups reinforced the mutual understanding on the current situation. This could be considered the greatest success of these events.