Job programs launched by Copenhagen Municipality are boosting the employment prospects of former foreign students and the spouses of highly-skilled international workers.
Since their respective launches in 2013 and 2014, the employment rates of those enrolled on the Canadian-inspired courses have been 74 and 75 percent within a year of completion.
Stopping the brain drain
The municipality, which intends to spend another 1.4 million kroner on the initiatives over the next year, launched the programs to address the drain of talent seen when international students educated in Denmark leave the country, and when highly-skilled international workers depart because their spouses failed to find work.
Figures compiled by Dansk Industri, the confederation of Danish industry, had previously shown that only a third of foreign graduates find work within a year of completing their education.
Just five hours a week
The six-month international student program, the Greater Copenhagen Career Programme, was launched at International House Copenhagen in 2013. It provides seminars, workshops, mentors and network opportunities to students, who tend to participate for about five hours a week.
And since 2014, the Copenhagen Career Programme at International House Copenhagen has been similarly educating the spouses of highly-skilled international workers, often finding them internships or subsidised employments.
Super for spouses
Copenhagen’s deputy mayor for employment, Anna Mee Allerslev was impressed, telling Dansk Industri that Denmark’s other large municipalities should all consider pursuing similar initiatives.
“There’s been a significant difference compared to the period before we launched the program,” she said in reference to the the Copenhagen Career Programme.
“The main reason that businesses cannot retain talented foreign nationals is that their spouse is dissatisfied. And as foreign specialists often have skills that businesses find hard to recruit in Denmark, this is just an investment which in the long run will benefit the municipality as a whole.”
Splendid for students
Linda Duncan Wendelboe, the head of Dansk Industri Global Talent, was similarly happy with the foreign student results.
“Foreign students are a resource that we should be much better at retaining, not least because they arrive with a global network,” she said
“We cannot take it for granted that foreign nationals will decide to pursue a career in Copenhagen, and that is why we can only support an initiative that contributes to retaining them here.”