Youth goodwill ambassadors increasing in number to meet the challenge

Almost 400 current or former international students have now been signed up to market Denmark to the rest of the world

The Youth Goodwill Ambassador Corps, a volunteer programme based in Denmark that works to nurture and retain international talent, has almost doubled the number of its youth goodwill ambassadors in the past year.

Back in April, there were just 200 youth goodwill ambassadors, whose role is to attract fresh talent to the Danish job market, but now there are 350 – a jump of 75 percent.
The leap was revealed by the programme – which was established by Copenhagen Capacity, Wonderful Copenhagen and the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation in 2010 – ahead of its annual national conference last weekend, and it comes with increased efforts online to attract talent to these shores.
This year, the ambassadors, who tend to be current or former international students at higher educational institutions in Denmark, have been encouraged to make videos about their respective home towns, and some of the results can be seen below.

Praise from the minister
The efforts have been heartily praised by the minister for higher education, Morten Østergaard.

“With the Youth Goodwill Ambassador Corps we are engaging international talents all over the world,” he explained.

“In today’s global economy, talent mobility is a huge driver for intercultural exchange, innovation and exports. By working closely with our youth ambassadors, we are connecting Denmark with the home countries of our youth ambassadors on a people-to-people level, which already is showing great results.”

The impending shortage
According to Denmark’s Economic Council of the Labour Movement (ECLM), this country’s companies will by 2020 be short of up to 21,000 employees holding a higher education.

It is a problem that the programme hopes ambassadors like Lucia Partikova, a 22-year-old Slovakian who is studying for a master’s in global innovation management at Aalborg University, will help to rectify in their respective countries.  

“The ambassadors’ task is to promote Denmark to my peers in Slovakia with the overall objective of sharing my personal story about international student mobility to foster intercultural exchange and global career opportunities,” she said.

“I believe that I and other international students can be valuable assets to bring a new perspective and exchange experience to the country’s growth and potential.”  
Partikova cannot speak highly enough of her host country, which has been her home for the last four years.

“I highly value working and studying in Denmark and this way to contribute to the society,” she enthused. “I have gained new values and perspectives on life by living here. Danish culture has tremendously affected the way I think about the world and people, but mostly my lifestyle.”
Cannot imagine not cycling!
“I cannot imagine my life without my bike anymore. It has become my everyday routine and transportation means in Copenhagen,” continued Partikova.

“I eat raw and organic food, wear comfortable casual clothes and support sustainable energy consumption initiatives. I do care about this country because it is my home now and it might be for a longer period of time. One day I want my children to be raised in a country where trust actually means something, and where people caring about the society and environment they live in. And when I think about a country that could give them a good foundation of education that shapes them into creative unique individuals, I think of Denmark.”The Aalborg team emerged victorious in the recent Youth Goodwill Ambassador City Branding Battle

Another youth ambassador, Manas Mani, 26, who is from India, agreed with Partikova. Since finishing his education at Aalborg University, where he studied innovative communication technologies and entrepreneurship, he has found employment at Nordea as a graduate in IT capital markets.

 “I am very impressed by the Danish work culture,” he observed.

“The organisation hierarchy is flat, and everyone has a say in interpersonal and company’s development. The contribution at work is highly appreciated here, and the work-life balance is great. Cosy living and the high standard of living are like the cherry on the top. It has been a wonderful experience for me so far living in Denmark, and I will encourage international students and talents to live the same experience as me.”