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Women Returning to Careers in IT, Electronics and Telecomms (ITEC)

Mentoring Programme

Inova developed a mentoring programme for highly skilled women who wanted to return to a career in ITEC following a career break (usually for family caring
responsibilities). This mentoring programme was part of the Equalitec project – a European initiative funded by ESF to tackle the under-representation of women in ITEC through interventions aimed at supporting women returners in the UK, Italy and The Netherlands.

This programme included a series of Mentoring Circles™ for the women who were looking to go back to work. Mentoring Circles combine the benefits gained from one to one mentoring with those from working with a group of peers. A combination of action learning with mentoring principles provides mentees with a wider source of support and inspiration for idea generation and greater creativity in problem solving.

Mentoring Circles bring up to five female mentees together working with a  trained female mentor/facilitator. Circles met for an agreed number of sessions e.g. once every four to six weeks, over an agreed time period.

Each Mentoring Circles session enables members to have the opportunity to discuss individual issues related to their return to work e.g. confidence issues, concerns about combining work and family. This is followed by group support through members acting as a sounding board for individuals to bounce ideas and assisting the individual to reflect on potential solutions to problems/issues.

Mentoring Circles helped women returning to ITEC by:

  • Increasing self-confidence
  • Providing the opportunity to meet other women and increase their network of contacts
  • Showing how we can learn from others’ experiences
  • Gaining a fresh insight into issues/problems and new ideas to solve problems
  • Providing support in working through an action plan for returning to work in ITEC
  • Increasing skills such as negotiation and assertiveness through working on skills in a safe space with other women.
This programme focused on women in ITEC but can be adapted to help women returning to any career following a career break.

Equalitec seeks to address gender inequality in the Information Technology, Electronics and Communications (ITEC) industries by providing services and resources to individuals and organisations for more effective implementation of diversity policies.

For more information, visit the equalitec website here.