Women in Rail has been running a hugely successful cross-industry mentoring programme since 2014. The purpose of the Programme is to provide a support platform for men and women in UK rail but also champion diverse thinking, cross-fertilisation of ideas and networks and promote diversity in rail, starting with gender diversity as the core focus, but embracing broader diversity over time.
Since last year, Women in Rail is collaborating with leading mentoring expert, Moving Ahead, to ensure the sustainability, transferability and expandability of the Women in Rail Mentoring Programme for years to come.
The unique selling point of the Women in Rail Mentoring Programme is that it is a cross-industry mentoring scheme where mentees are matched with a mentor from a different company, based on the requirements they have entered on their profile (which include location, personal interests, technical skills and experience).
Mentors are men and women working in UK rail. This year, the Programme opens to men (in addition to women) from the UK railway industry with male mentees being, to the extent possible, specifically matched with a female mentor.
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Under the Programme, each mentors and mentees are given access to an intranet where they load their profile; the matching is carried out by an algorithm with each match reviewed by the Women in Rail Mentoring Team; mentors and mentees receive professional training via both an online learning platform (briefing documents, guides, videos, literature) and in-person sessions, including Masterclasses and 3 networking events.
The Programme is funded by companies from the UK railway industry who, for a fee of £250 per individual, can put forward from 6 up to 20 men and women from their own organisation for pairing.
The Programme also includes a charitable fund which enable women job seekers, in transition, on care leave or from non-participating organisations, to take part in the Programme free of charge. We were delighted to welcome 3 pro-bono female mentees on the 2019 Programme.