Transition Challenges and Mentorship Programs for Vulnerable Final-Year College Students in Peru

Sandra Fabiola Valdivia Acurio, Mario Marcello Pasco Dalla Porta

Producción científica: Capítulo del libro/informe/acta de congresoContribución a la conferenciarevisión exhaustiva


In Latin American countries there is an increasing gap between the students’ skills emphasized at universities and those demanded by labor markets. Several studies show that a successful professional profile not only requires cognitive skills but also socioemotional ones. These soft skills are crucial for the insertion of students into the workplace. In these countries, and in Peru in particular, employers coincide that most recently graduated professionals lack these skills. This gap is even higher for students coming from poor households. Last year university students require more orientation about where to find job offers, how to deal with job interviews, how to adapt to the new work environment, and how to remain competitive on it. Mentoring programs have been effective in helping students in these processes. Unfortunately, there are scarce initiatives of this kind in the country, promoted either by public or private institutions. Mentor Peru is the only organization that provides this service to poor students through a program whereby experienced mentors around the world have virtual meetings with their mentees to offer them guidance and tools regarding their transition to the job market. The purpose of this research was to make a contrast between the need for soft skills required to enter the labor market and the related services offered at the universities. The study focused on last year university students who live in poor households. The methodological design included two stages. The first one involved the analysis of a set of variables about students’ expectations and universities’ services from the National Survey of University Graduates. The database included information corresponding to 2270 students that matched the sampling criteria. The second stage involved the application of an exploratory survey about students’ needs and expectations regarding a mentoring service. This database included data from 67 students. The analysis of the national survey revealed that most students recognize the importance of soft skills for their insertion in the labor market, are aware that they lack these skills, and complain that their universities do not offer opportunities to developing such skills. These gaps are higher for women, students of public universities, and students living outside the country’s capital. In addition, the exploratory survey found that although few students had some mentoring experience, this considerably helped them to understand and face the challenges in their transition to the work environment. Moreover, the majority of students considered that mentorship programs should become a regular service at their universities, and highlighted the importance of having experienced and committed mentors. This research has implications for scholars and program directors at universities. First, it provides the first comprehensive study about the gap in soft skills for labor insertion that affects poor university students in the country. In addition, it offers a tool for assessing mentoring services at universities and also establishes a set of criteria to develop scalable mentoring programs to address the students’ needs.
Idioma originalEspañol
Título de la publicación alojada15th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Número de páginas9
EstadoPublicada - 1 ene. 2021

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