Setting up a Eurpoean Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring

On March 17, 2016 MentorProgramma Friesland and its partner institutions VET Friesland College, VET Friese Poort, VET Nordwin College, Stenden University of Applied Sciences and NHL University of Applied Sciences will launch the European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring. This Center is geared at conducting research and enhance knowledge exhcange in Europe, in close collaboration with the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring in the United States. Professor J. Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts Boston contributes to the scientific basis of the Center by becoming ‘visiting professor’ in the European Center.


Mentoring is a proven instrument! Not only due to tackling youth unemployment, early school leaving, low attractiveness of vocational education, but also by contributing to excellence in study career and entrepreneurial behavior.

The number and volume of mentoring programs are rapidly increasing. This does not only happen in the Netherlands, but also in the rest of Europe. In the North of the Netherlands, MentorProgramma Friesland provides additional guidance to young people in education, since 1997. This happens in close cooperation with the business world. It is an addition to the regular support and coaching at school. Key of the methodology is that people stand centrally.

Research on quality, methodology and effectiveness of mentoring is still in its infancy in Europe. Investigation of the influence of mentoring on the above-mentioned development areas is important in order to achieve an optimum design of mentoring. The increasing mobility of young people as well as their need for ongoing mentoring asks for an international approach and a cross-border network in Europe.

MentorProgramma Friesland as initiator

MentorProgramma Friesland has been conducting research on the effects of its own program for several years. Thus, the ambition has grown to generate more knowledge about mentoring, unlock it and make it available for the European mentoring field. The programme in the North of the Netherlands is a joint venture of VET’s and Universities of Applied Sciences. This collaboration provides an excellent basis from which research can take shape. Applied research is a natural step, together with mentoring programs, with the possibility to organize mentoring in and around the schools.

Lines of research

Research shows that both mentee and mentor benefit from the relationship. The impact transcends therefore the personal level; schools and participating companies and institutions benefit mentoring through the creation of networks and connections. Thus, the participants contribute to the vitality of their region.

The European Center will increase the impact for all stakeholders at multiple levels. This calls for continued research into the effects of operations and focus on improvement. Focus on research and knowledge development in the field of mentoring as well as applying new knowledge will contribute directly to this impact. The aim of the Center is to increase the effectiveness of mentoring at different levels by conducting research and applying new knowledge to our own mentoring programs and those of our partners.

Research and practice

The European Center is an organization for research and knowledge development, that also supplies academic assignments for students in vocational and higher education. Professors, PhD and master students with mentoring focus form the scientific core of the knowledge hub. By regular exchange of researchers and students, the state-of-the-art research results are exchanged between the US and Europe and within Europe.

Launch of the European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring

In September 2015, the educational institutions – VET Friesland College, ROC Friese Poort, Stenden and NHL Universities of Applied Sciences - signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Professor Jean Rhodes, director of MENTOR/UMB Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, Mr. W. Kooyker, chairman of the board of MENTOR National Mentoring Partnership and with Mr. D. Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR. The MOU is a milestone for the starting collaboration between the Center in the US and the European Center.

On March 17, 2016 the official launching of the European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring took place during the European Mentoring Summit in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

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