Women Like Me relaunches for 2020-21

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Women Like Me is a peer mentoring and outreach project, aimed at boosting female representation in engineering.

The project was first launched in 2018 and is based in the Science Communication Unit and Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics at UWE Bristol. The project is organised by Dr Laura Hobbs and Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers, and is supported by the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI).

Women Like Me pairs senior women engineers with junior women engineers to undertake mentoring and engineering education outreach in the West of England region. Engineering is a creative, socially conscious, and collaborative discipline, and this project aims to support girls and women to make a difference in society.

Why is this important?

Only 12% of engineers in the UK are women. In order to support female engineers, more girls need to connect with engineering as a career, with positive female role models, and more women need to be supported to make a difference in the workplace.

Women Like Me is addressing this by pairing mid-career women engineers with junior women engineers to provide career and public engagement mentoring. Junior engineers will deliver engineering engagement activities in local schools and at local public events, providing positive role models for young girls. Through this approach, the project will lead to impact both in the workplace today, and for the future of the engineering profession.

Who can take part?

Mid-career and early career female engineers working in the West of England region can get involved in the project. Senior women engineers are those who have been working in engineering for at least five years. Junior women engineers are those with less experience than this, and can include apprentices, trainees, undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

What will it involve?

We will offer networking opportunities to all participants at the start (autumn 2020) and end (summer 2021) of the project. Depending on COVID restrictions, these may take place virtually. Senior engineers will receive support in mentoring and should meet with their junior engineer mentee at least twice during the project. This can take any form that best suits each pair. Junior engineers will receive mentoring support from senior engineers and training in public engagement. They will then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities with local schools and public events, which again, may be virtual. Coordination of activity is provided and supported by UWE.

How do I sign up?

To take part in the project this year, participants should complete the DETI Diversity Demonstrator survey and select Women Like Me from the list of areas of interest (along with any other areas you are interested in!) by Friday 4th December. The project coordinators will then be in touch having allocated the mentor/mentee pairs.

Want some more info?

You can read about the successes of the project in previous years and access the 2018-2019 project report. A paper in the Journal of Science Communication, Fogg-Rogers and Hobbs (2019) places Women Like Me in the context of recruitment and retention of women in engineering. You can also watch the recording from this year’s launch event below.

Recording of WLM Launch Webinar, Nov 2020

For any further information please email engineeringourfuture@uwe.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter for updates.

DETI is a strategic programme of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), delivered by the National Composites Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & SimulationDigital Catapult, the University of the West of England, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath. DETI is funded by £5m from WECA, with co-investment from the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and industry.

Co-founder Stella Warren on new alta mentoring scheme

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Our keynote speaker at the upcoming Women Like Me closing event, Stella Warren, tells us all about the new alta mentoring scheme in this guest post.

Stella is a Research Associate in the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre with a background in applied social research. She supports a wide range of research project teams within Bristol Business School and also teaches research methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Her expertise includes social marketing and the understanding of psychological pathways for behaviour change in health; gender and inequality in organisations; the gender pay gap; and women working in male-dominated industries. She is a founder member of alta, a mentoring scheme for professional women in aviation and aerospace. She is also a member of the British and European Sociological Association and on the board of the Research Network ‘Gender Relations, Labour Markets and the Welfare State (RN14).

The mentoring scheme extends beyond the boundaries of the participating organisations, to impact on the industry at the national and international levels. After an initial pilot phase, alta was launched to the industry on 8th March, 2019 – International Women’s Day. It aims to empower women to gain confidence by receiving guidance from a more experienced woman in the industry and looks to change the way females are perceived in male dominated industries.

alta is hosted by the Royal Aeronautical Society and is part of their commitment to delivering on the pledges it made as a supporter of the Women in Aviation Charter, which was signed by government and industry representatives in June, 2018. alta is the first mentoring scheme of its kind in the industry and is currently open to professional women in the industry, with the help of financial donations from industry bodies and employers.

FREE event: Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

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As our Royal Academy of Engineering funded project, Women Like Me, draws to a close for this year, we are hosting a celebration event at UWE Bristol:

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

12-2 pm

Bristol and Bath Science Park, main cafe entrance (NB this is a change of venue from the original listing)


Sign up on Eventbrite

Women Like Me – Boosting mentoring for women in STEM in the West of England

The West of England is home to an impressive list of STEM industries, and all are working to improve participation for women in STEM. As well as recruiting more women into STEM, we also need to think about retaining our talented workforce. Mentoring Schemes can help to do just that, with research showing that mentoring from other experienced women is a key factor in creating a welcoming workplace culture.

This event brings together our leading players in women’s mentoring across the West of England, to explore how we can support each other and learn from best practice. Organised by UWE Bristol’s Women Like Me project for engineering mentoring, the network also connects with Women in Science and Engineering Bristol, the Women’s Engineering Society centenary and Curiosity Connections Bristol.

The event includes lunch and a keynote talk on women’s mentoring, followed by a workshop to develop further connections between mentoring schemes.

Please sign up to come and join us!

How To Volunteer At Work: Mentoring

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Our Faculty and Service Liaison Manager within the Student Journey Programme at UWE Bristol, Aimée Atkinson, also writes for the City Girl Network Magazine. We are sharing her recently published piece on volunteering as a mentor at work here as an Engineering Our Future blog post, with their kind permission. Aimée also jointly coordinates UWE’s Women’s Forum.

It has been said that one of the greatest gifts you can give is your time, and this is a gift that volunteers give freely. That said, in our busy lives it can be hard to find the time to fit everything in, work, social life, dating and relationships, remembering to check in with your family, and not to mention household chores and attempting to stay in shape.

But volunteering can come in many forms, and can fit in with your busy schedule, it doesn’t have to mean spending every Saturday at your nearest soup kitchen, unless you want it to!  The best part is that you can get loads out of the experience too, that’s in addition to feeling like a useful member of society.

How about volunteering to take on some additional responsibilities at work? Providing your boss is ok with it, this could be part of your standard working day.

One great way to give back within your career is to act as a mentor. This could be as simple as showing the new girl the ropes. Or it could take the form of a more structured approach in which your mentee has a set goal in mind, and you have the skill set to help them achieve it.

How to get into mentoring

Many large organisations already have mentoring schemes in place, and offer training and support to new mentors. If your place of work isn’t one of these, it could be possible to get some outside help in the form of an external course – the Institute of Leadership and Management offer a wide range of courses on mentoring at a variety of levels.

It may even be possible to find a mentor to help you with your mentoring. However, I promise you, mentoring someone is not as daunting as it may first appear.

Finding the right mentee for you

First of all it’s important to establish you have the necessary skills to help your mentee achieve their goals – and this doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in that particular field. Sometimes mentoring is blurred with coaching, where it is simply helpful for the mentee to have someone who is removed from their situation to talk through ideas with and act as a sounding board.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be in a more senior role than your mentee, you may be in a more junior role, but have skills in an area which are worth sharing – such as some Excel wizardry! Or perhaps you’ve managed a team for years, and someone in your office is promoted, but is new to managing and could really use your help shaping their own management style.

Next up is to agree a timescale for your mentoring relationship, and set out some ground rules. If your mentee wants to achieve a specific goal within a specific time frame, then this makes things easy, however it might be useful to agree to a three or six month period, and review if longer is required after a few months.

The ground rules are up to the two of you, though out of professional courtesy I would suggest that the content of your mentoring meetings should remain between the two of you.

Personally, I love mentoring – it’s a great way to meet new people at work, it’s incredibly rewarding to help others in achieving their goals and it’s a confidence boost in your own abilities. You will already have all the skills needed to be a mentor, as that’s the whole point, you’re sharing those skills with others.

However, if mentoring is not for you, there are many other ways to volunteer your time and boost your skills in the process. You could use volunteering as an opportunity to share your existing skills with others, or to try something completely new, either way you’re guaranteed to meet new people in the process and maybe even make some new friends.

You can get an idea of the types of volunteering opportunities available in your area via Do It.Org or Charity Job’s website or through your local volunteer centre.

As a City Girl, you should be spoilt for choice! There are ad hoc options such as at your local library, school, or homeless shelter. There are plenty of opportunities that involve working from home too, such as administrative support, web design, or even acting as a committee member. Perhaps you loved being a Brownie or Guide as a child, and would love to be involved as an adult.

We’re also huge supporters of The Girl’s Network, connecting teenage girls across the UK with professional women.

City Girl Network is a social network for young women living in cities. You can find out more about how you can be more involved with the network here.

Aimée can be found on Twitter at @AimeeLouTweets. Originally published in the City Girl Network magazine on 14th November 2018. Re-posted with permission.

Women in Research Mentoring Scheme event for UWE Bristol academic staff

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Monday 3rd December 2018, 12:00 – 14:00
Please see staff intranet for location
Come along to find out more about the Women in Research Mentoring Scheme and how you can get involved as a mentee/mentor and hear first hand accounts from current mentees/mentors.

Booking information

Please register to attend

Event details

This lunchtime event is open to any member of UWE academic staff and will begin with lunch and informal networking followed by presentations.

If you are not currently a WRMS member, feel free to come along and find out more about the scheme from the Chair, Harriet Shortt and how you can get involved as a mentor/mentee.

For more details about the scheme please see the UWE Bristol website.

If you are currently a WRMS member, please come along to network.

Listen to our keynote speaker, Amy Armstrong, an experienced coach, who will be talking about the value of mentoring, how a good mentoring relationship works and why mentoring for women can create a positive space for women.

Hear first-hand accounts, from one of our current mentors and mentees, about their experiences of being members of the WRMS.

Please register to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!

Biography: Amy Armstrong specialises in enabling leaders and their teams to excel under stress. Formerly a director of fast growing business in the EdTech sector, Amy combines 15 years of leadership and high-performance business, with extensive experience as an executive coach and clinical hypnotherapist. She has a deep interest in how we face and master the human challenges of work, and enjoys working with a diverse range of Bristol’s leaders, founders and rising stars to develop habits of sustainable success through calm, confidence and clarity.

For further information including location and detailed timings:

UWE Bristol events page (staff only)

Email: researchevents@uwe.ac.uk

Women’s Engineering Society Industry Mentoring Scheme launches at UWE Bristol

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Final year female students in Engineering and related disciplines at UWE Bristol are to receive mentoring from professionals in industry through a Women’s Engineering Society (WES) scheme.

A group of students planning to take up employment after they graduate will be supported by an external mentor who will guide them in considering their options and help them to make a successful transition from University to work.

The free programme is launching at UWE Bristol on 22nd November 2018 with training introduce the WES scheme, discussing matching with mentors, and explaining how to get the best out of the scheme. It complements our Royal Academy of Engineering funded Women Like Me programme for female engineers post-graduation by providing mentoring for female undergraduate engineers.

Mentoring is provided through the Women’s Engineering Society and is funded by a grant from the Arconic Foundation.

Women’s Engineering Society – Industry mentoring for final-year students 2018-19

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Women’s Engineering Society

Industry mentoring for final-year students 2018-19

Places are now available for final year female students in Engineering and related disciplines to receive mentoring from professionals in industry.

If you are planning to take up employment after you graduate, you can apply to be supported by an external mentor who will guide you in considering your options and help you make a successful transition from University to work.

There is no cost to participate in the scheme but places are limited.  To register your interest, please contact laura.foggrogers@uwe.ac.uk  by 5th November.  Successful applicants must be available to attend an induction session on Thursday 22nd November 5-7pm.

Mentoring is provided through the Women’s Engineering Society and is funded by a grant from the Arconic Foundation.

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