How to set up your mentorship programme – top tips from the WiT mentorship scheme
At Women in Tech, we’re passionate about developing the next generation of women in technology. But whether you’re a career starter or changer, stepping into a tech role can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming.
That’s why mentorship is so important. It helps share industry knowledge and enhance tech skills, pointing people in the right direction. Throughout my journey into tech, I heard about coding courses from a friend and heard about the role I’m in now through networking with people already in the tech industry. I wouldn’t have known which way to turn without those who were there to guide me.
So, I’ve worked with the rest of the Women in Tech team to develop a mentoring scheme that connects women who want to develop their technical skills with people who work with those skills every day. The expert can then give them guidance about available training, external resources and the tech industry.
These are the things we did to set the scheme up for long term success:
1. Research other schemes
To start, we researched what other schemes were available across PA, learning from what was already on offer. We wanted to make sure there wasn’t a similar scheme in place that we could promote instead, and set out to differentiate from buddy programmes.
2. Identify your niche
We did a lot of research into what mentoring schemes were already offered at PA, to understand what niche we wanted to target. We decided to focus on technical upskilling, pairing mentees with someone more senior in their area of interest. To target our key demographic, we plan to advertise the scheme to new joiners through social channels and our network to give young women in tech technical support that they hadn’t experienced before.
3. Automate administrative processes
Automating the backend removes time consuming admin. We used a basic platform to automate small activities, such as notifications that a mentor and mentee have paired, and regular reminders to prompt mentees and mentors to meet. These tasks take valuable time that we were able to put into mentoring. And, as we scale, we can spend effort on high value activities rather than administrative tasks.
4. Gather regular feedback
Taking regular feedback and responding as it comes through has been vital to the success of the mentoring scheme. We sent regular feedback surveys to understand how we could improve the scheme, ready for a full launch, and we held a workshop at the end. We were then able to work directly with mentors and mentees to develop resources and improve our comms, to support their mentoring journey.
5. Engage with HR
Engaging with HR, recruitment and learning and development professionals has been key to the success of the scheme. For example, our HR team held an internal CV workshop, giving mentees the confidence to develop their personal branding and, ultimately, apply for roles on projects that make the most of their new skills and move their career in their desired direction.
Mentorship programmes are vital to supporting people who are starting a new career in tech. By being proactive, teams of experts can help nurture the next generation of women in tech.