A lifeline for lovepats: Career mentor program for international spouses

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Photo: Ole Onstad

Published by Oslo Business Region, 06 December 2023

One of the most common reasons people relocate to Oslo is to be with their spouses or partners. Many of these “lovepats” are highly skilled and bring considerable value to Oslo personally and professionally.

When expat spouses find their way into Oslo's workforce and thrive, it's a huge benefit to the economy in terms of the competence they bring and the role they play in retaining talent in the ecosystem. According to a recent Danish study, 40% percent of international talent in the IT-industry leave the country within a year if their partner is unable to find work. Norway faces a similar challenge. This can be costly for everyone involved and is a painful blow to sustainable growth.

To help lovepats build their careers here, Oslo Business Region collaborated with Jobbreisen® by Contento to offer a 3-month career mentor program to partners and spouses of startup/scaleup employees. Throughout the fall, 17 mentees participated in monthly workshops and 1:1 mentor sessions with professionals across industries - from NRK, Schibsted and Reodor to Handelsbanken.

The mentees adapted their CVs and LinkedIn profiles to the Norwegian market, pitched their experience and career goals to mentors, participated in mock interviews, and expanded their networks at local industry events, such as Oslo Innovation Week. They supported each other and formed friendships along the way.

So far, three of the mentees have started relevant jobs, one is starting their own company, and another is in a job training program. Most of the mentees are multilingual and are learning or speaking Norwegian. They have skills and experience in international commercial sales, data science, marine biology, UI/UX, mechanical engineering, AI, and other areas.

If you would like to learn more about the mentees or would like your startup/scaleup to receive updates on mentor programs in 2024, contact Andrea at andrea@oslobusinessregion.no

See photos from the program here.