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Mentoring Follow-up „Ithaka“ and „Incluso“

Background and aims

There are two mentoring programs in the canton of Zurich: «Ithaka» by the “Amt für Jugend and Berufsberatung” (Office for Youth and Career Counselling) and «Incluso» by Caritas. Both projects provide nationwide cantonal services. The University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education was requested to evaluate the two mentoring programs. The evaluation focused on the question whether mentoring helps to successfully complete an apprenticeship. Mentoring aims at supporting young persons with finding an apprenticeship. It is mostly designed for young adults not receiving sufficient support from their parents. Thus, many juveniles with a migration background sign up for mentoring. But also those young persons, whose parents do not have enough time and strength for their child due to disease, unemployment or divorce, receive help with finding an apprenticeship through these mentoring projects. For this purpose, an employed adult accompanies them while finding an apprenticeship. The mentors help in many different ways: On the one hand, they encourage the young persons and support them. On the other hand, they make sure that the application papers meet with the requirements with regards to content and form. They also do role plays with the juveniles, where they practice questions and answers that might come up in an interview.


For the evaluation young persons (99 juveniles in brief contacts and 15 juveniles with guideline interview), who had a mentor in the school year 2007/08, were interviewed over the phone. 138 mentors were also included in an internet-based interview.


87% of the interviewed juveniles are still in the middle of their apprenticeship or have already completed a basic professional training. The prospects of successful integration in the job market hence seem to be intact. 8% of the juveniles are employed without basic education, implicating a certain risk of becoming unemployed. 75% of the former juveniles of Ithaka and Incluso, and also the mentors (79%) are pleased with the given or received support from before. 40% still stay in contact.

Consequences in practice

The evaluation shows that the following aspects add to successful mentoring and should be integrated in future projects: Voice in choice of mentor (tandem) Post-care also through first phase of apprenticeship Subsequent solutions, such as 10th grade, should not be considered as the end of the mentoring. Ideal would be, if the mentors' support for the juveniles continued, when the juveniles look for apprenticeships after the «break». Already existing, working relationships should be supported and, if possible, maintained. The stability in the relationships between the mentors and the juveniles represents a key factor in the successful mentoring program. Theoretically this is called resilience factor. It means that the resilience of the young person is strengthened and difficult situations can be handled more easily. To create a good tandem is very challenging, but it is worth a try.



Project Management

Prof. Dr.  Schellenberg


Project team


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe