Women in Engineering Mentoring & Outreach Programme – get involved now!

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‘Women Like Me’ is a peer mentoring and outreach project in the Bristol and Bath area aimed at boosting female representation at all levels in engineering. Senior women engineers are paired with junior women engineers and their mentoring journeys supported through various events. At the same time training and opportunities are provided for junior engineers to undertake engineering education outreach in local schools. 

The programme has run with great success since 2018, and for 2023 we’re excited to be adding a new element to our mentoring support package! 

In addition to our face-to-face networking and training events, this year we will be providing online mentoring support. Alexandra Knight, an award-winning engineer and presenter, who empowers women in STEM to be confident visible role models through her company STEMazing, will be heading up these online sessions, with particular emphasis on developing our Senior Engineers’ mentoring skills. 

Who can take part?

If you have 5 years (or more) experience working in engineering – you’re a Senior Woman Engineer! – please sign up to be a Mentor here.

Junior women engineers are those with less experience than this, and can include apprentices, trainees, undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers – with less than 5 years experience in engineering. Please sign up to be a Mentee here.

Date for the diary!

Please sign up in January, as we’ll collect all enrolments and pair you up mentor-to-mentee in early February before our kick off event on 23rd Feb…

Women Like Me – 23rd February, 4 – 6pm at UWE Bristol (Frenchay campus in Filton).

This event will introduce you to the Women Like Me programme, with some top tips and discussion about mentoring and outreach. And hopefully include getting to meet your new mentee/mentor for the first time (!) as well as the rest of this years cohort. 

Those are the core details, but if you’d like to find out more about the programme – including why we think women mentoring is important, more detailed plans for this year, expectations from mentor/mentees, past successes etc – please read below.

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 together women engineers to provide career and public engagement mentoring. Participating engineers deliver engineering engagement activities in local schools and at local public events, providing positive role models for young girls. Through this approach, the project impacts the workplace today and the future of the engineering profession.

What will it involve?

Introductions – We offer various networking and training opportunities to all participants, this year the first session will be held face-to-face on 23rd Feb.

Goal setting – On 9th March, there’ll be an online goal setting session for mentors and mentees. Alexandra Knight (from STEMazing) will lead mentoring pairs through focused discussions to get their mentoring relationships off to a great start.

Mentor only coaching – This year will be a great opportunity for mentors to develop themselves as well as their mentees, with Alex leading four subsequent online ‘mentoring circle’ meetings for mentoring coaching and peer support. These sessions will be spread throughout the year and will be private sessions for mentors-only.

Mentoring meet-ups – We expect mentors and mentees to meet at least twice during the year – although we’d encourage more, if that’s possible for both parties. These meetings or conversations can take whatever form best suits each pair – something to discuss in your initial meetings in Feb/March.

Mentees public engagement – Junior engineers will receive training in public engagement (Senior Engineers can also take part!) and we ask them to then undertake at least three engineering outreach activities with local schools and public events. Coordination of activity is provided and supported by UWE – we’ll send you opportunities over email and support you in these sessions.

Log your activities – we then ask mentors to log their mentoring meet-ups, and the mentees to log their public engagement – this helps us to track how the programme is going.

More Women Like Me Info

This project was first launched in 2018 and is based in the Science Communication Unit and School of Engineering at UWE Bristol. The project is organised by Dr Louisa Cockbill and Ana Bristow, and was initiated by Dr Laura Fogg Rogers and Dr Laura Hobbs. It is supported by the initiative for Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI).

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.

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

How do I sign up?

If you’ve not already done this on the links above, here they are again! To take part in the project this year, interested participants should complete the appropriate online survey:

Senior Engineers (over 5 years experience) please complete this survey

Junior Engineers (less than 5 years experience) please complete this survey

The project coordinators will then be in touch in February to introduce you to your mentor/mentee.

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