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Women in Transport 2021 Mentoring Program guide

03 May 2021

The Women in Transport Mentoring Program is creating an empowered, enduring and energetic future for women in Victoria’s transport industry.

Participating in the Women In Transport (WiT) Mentoring Program is your opportunity to make the transport industry great for women. Whether mentee or mentor, you will benefit from personal and professional development and contribute to a culture of positive learning that will support the capability of women in transport now, and in the future.

The program is a six-month, industrywide initiative offering professional development and networking, plus regular guidance to help structure monthly mentee-mentor meetings.

The Program is designed to foster supportive face-to-face relationships and actively encourage mentees to identify and realise their professional goals. The aim is to give mentees a fresh avenue for development as they progress through their career in transport, and to give mentors an opportunity to share their experience and discover just how much they have to offer

Unique to WiT Mentoring is the opportunity to build networks across disciplines and across government and private business in Victoria’s transport industry. The program allows for the inclusion of all women in the transport industry, as well as access to an extensive network.

The program recognises and brings together the diverse workforce that makes up the transport industry, and the incredibly wide range of skills and professions required to bring a project to completion.

WiT Mentoring is delivered by the Level Crossing Removal Project on behalf of the Department of Transport. It is part of Women in Transport, a $2 million package of initiatives and business improvements to encourage more women to enter and stay in the transport industry, and which supports the Victorian Government's Gender Equality Strategy.

Key benefits:

  • Be custom-matched with a mentor or mentee based on your needs, goals, preferences and location.
  • Develop relationships with current and future leaders and experts in your industry
  • Identify your career goals and build your skills, such as influencing across functions and making the most of industry advances and innovations
  • Strengthen your networks across multiple levels and functions of the industry
  • Learn from industry leaders, experts and peers
  • Enjoy the space and opportunity for professional reflection, conversation, challenge and learning
  • A structured program to support your 1:1 mentoring relationship
  • Access to an industry-tailored professional development program

Mentoring – creating great networks

There is a record number of women graduating from university in Australia and entering the workforce. Yet, data still points to a gap between the number of women starting out on their professional track and how many advance to senior positions.

One of the ways that WiT Mentoring aims to help fill this gap is through mentoring. That is, encouraging those people already in positions of influence to support and guide women as they progress through the various stages of their careers, particularly at pivotal decision points.

Mentoring is a collaborative experience that facilitates growth and knowledge transfer through an ongoing dialogue. Mentoring aims at personal growth, self-awareness, understanding, and insight through professional and social interactions between mentor and mentee.

As a formal mentoring program, mentors and mentees are matched to offer the best experience for both mentee and mentor. Over the course of six-months, mentors and mentees meet monthly to discuss and plan how to reach their goals

The mentor/mentee relationship is reliant on three key principles:

  1. Mutual trust and support
  2. Clear roles and expectations
  3. Open communication

How WiT mentoring works

Goal based matching

Mentor-mentee pairs are matched based on their goals, objectives and professional backgrounds. Depending on the goals articulated in the application, pairs may be matched across sector (government and private), in the same sector, across discipline (e.g. communications and engineering) and/or in the same discipline.

Monthly face-to-face meetings

Mentors and mentees will arrange their own monthly, usually face to-face meetings. To facilitate this, we also consider both applicant's primary work location when finding the best match.

Monthly guidance

Each month, participants are provided with guidance and a suggested focus to strengthen and provide structure to the mentoring relationship.

Professional development program

Participants come together at three half-day, interactive professional development sessions staggered over the six-month program. You will network with other mentees and mentors, hear from inspirational women in industry as keynote speakers and receive guidance, inspiration, and practical tools.

Tailored online platform

Mentorloop is an online platform used to make and assess applications, help match mentee-mentor pairs (based on what is put in your application), communicate with and between participants, and allow ongoing program evaluation.

COVID-19 update

While face to face meetings are a key feature and expectation of this program, should COVID-19 restrictions be in place, monthly meetings should occur online, as will the professional development sessions.


Program Structure

Professional development program

Three professional development and networking sessions are staggered over the six-month program to:

  • provide a platform for mentors and mentees to converse in a supported and structured environment
  • deliver practical tools and frameworks to support participants on mentoring, leadership, adaptability and goal setting.
  • enable participants to reflect and share lessons of their mentoring experience.

For additional support, every month participants are sent a range of online tools and resources, including topics to support mentoring conversations and tips on how to be an effective mentee or mentor and maintain a positive mentoring relationship.

Rapport building

This stage involves 1:1 discussion to enable mentors and mentees to get to know each other and establish rapport and fit. Having a sense of purpose for the relationship is fundamental to commitment to it.

Direction setting

Direction-setting establishes clarity about the goals mentors and mentees want to achieve from the relationship. Developing goals in conjunction with action plans will contribute to their achievement.

Making progress

Learning and growth for both mentor and mentee is significant in this phase and will drive satisfaction, increased self-confidence and empowerment. The process of making decisions, solving problems, setting goals and creating action will drive progress towards goals.

Reflection

Reflecting on earlier phases provides learning opportunities and an acknowledgment of success achieved.


Timeframe

The WiT Mentoring Program is run twice a year; Round One and Round Two.

Applications

Made online via Mentorloop

Matched

Pairs are carefully and manually matched based on their applications

Meet

Monthly in-person meetings between matched pairs

Facilitated

Three professional development sessions to encourage learning, networking and an opportunity to work through any mentoring or career challenges

Ongoing

Support from the WiT Mentoring Program Coordinator


Round Two 2021

Applications open4 May to 31 May

Participants notified of matched mentee/mentor

Mid to late June

Program begins

Start of monthly guidance

1 July 2021

1st professional development session

July

2nd professional development session

September
3rd professional development sessionNovember
Program closes 31 December 2021
Mentor relationships continue outside of program Ongoing

What do past participants have to say?

It's been great having Sarah as a mentor especially since she's in the same sector of the industry but in a different discipline. She's added great insights and improved my network.

Mentee, 2020

I had a lovely discussion a few weeks ago from one of my former WIT Mentees, and she said that the help and support I gave her had not only benefited her, but 10 other people to whom she used and passed on my mentoring guidance. 10 people I have never met! What a lovely thought that the WIT initiative is spreading beyond WIT only attendees

Mentor, 2021


Expectations

Clear expectations and commitments are important for supporting successful mentoring relationships and a productive mentoring program.

The WiT Mentoring Program is a 6-month commitment. Mentees and mentors must agree to:

  • meet once a month
  • negotiate meeting locations and time commitments
  • ensure that discussions remain confidential
  • prepare for meetings and read the provided monthly guidance
  • participate in three professional development sessions
  • access further support from the program coordinator when required
  • use Mentorloop to communicate with each other (unless otherwise mutually agreed)
  • keep their contact details up to date in Mentorloop (for the Program Coordinator)

Mentees should:

  • be the drivers of the mentoring relationship and demonstrate a commitment to personal learning and development
  • have a positive attitude and be open to developing selfawareness, personal growth, seeking feedback
  • take responsibility for their decisions and actions
  • be clear about their goals throughout the program

Mentees should have a desire to:

  • develop a wider knowledge of the transport industry
  • build self-confidence * support their career and personal development by developing greater insight into skills and behaviours needed to be effective in their roles
  • build and grow a strong professional network
  • learn through shared experiences.

Mentors should:

  • be open and honest in sharing their knowledge, expertise and experiences
  • offer honest feedback in a constructive manner
  • be able to listen and provide guidance to mentees, allowing them to make their own decisions

Mentors should be committed to:

  • the development of their mentee
  • demonstrating leadership by championing collaboration across teams and organisations
  • understanding the opportunities and barriers that women face at different levels in the transport industry
  • developing their individual skills by contributing to the development of another
  • self-reflection, where sharing experiences allows mentors to learn new insights about themselves.

Frequently asked questions

  • Who can participate in the program?
    • Please refer to the ‘Eligibility’ section.

  • Can I be a mentee and a mentor?
    • Yes. As long as you meet the expectations and eligibility of both mentee and mentor, and can commit to two, one-hour meetings a month.

  • What is the time commitment for the program?
    • One hour a month to meet with your mentee / mentor, and 2-3 hours every 6 weeks to participate in the professional development program with other pairs.

  • How often will I meet with my mentor/mentee?
    • Once a month. You may of course meet more often and communicate via email, phone or our online platform Mentorloop. However, to get the most out of the program you will be expected to meet in person (or online via MS teams, Zoom or Skype during COVID-19 restrictions) at least once a month.

  • Are all applicants guaranteed a place in the program?
    • No. While we aim to match all applicants, we cannot guarantee a match for everyone as there are limited places and it will depend on the number of applications received

  • How will mentees or mentors be matched?
    • Mentees and mentors are matched based on the balance of mentees to mentors, and your responses in the application form. While the form asks for mentoring styles and preferences, areas of expertise and learning goals, workplace location, matching these cannot be guaranteed.

      You may be matched with someone in or outside of your organisation, in the same or different work area (e.g engineering), or in the private or public sector. The program aims to foster new and complimentary relationships, so matches that cross organisations, areas and sectors will be common.

  • What if I’m not suited to my mentee or mentor?
    • If one or both parties don’t feel comfortable with the match, we will do our best to find another existing or new mentee/mentor so that you can continue with the program.

  • What happens if I feel there is a conflict of interest with the matched person?
    • All concerns of conflict of interest are taken very seriously. If you have any concern about your mentee/mentor, the first step is to notify the Program Coordinator immediately. Where possible we will endeavour to re-match pairs.

  • What form of contact will be used?
    • Mentorloop will be the primary contact used to provide monthly guidance, send invitations to professional development sessions and share other information. It can also be used to communicate with your mentee/mentor, unless you both agree to use phone or email.

  • Where and when will the professional development sessions be held?
    • Sessions occur roughly every six weeks at the start, middle and end of the program from 8.30-11.30am (or 9.30-11.30am when run online during COVID-19 restrictions). In-person sessions are held at Citadines Hotel in Melbourne's CBD. Details will be sent at the beginning of each program

  • What happens if my role changes or I leave my organisation?
    • As long as you remain in the Victorian transport industry you can continue with the program.

  • Does my employer need to endorse my participation?
    • No, this is a voluntary program that strengthens your personal career development.

  • Will my participation be considered paid work time?
    • This depends on your employer. While this is a voluntary program it will likely require time away from work. However, it is our hope that employers will support staff participation and consider it work time. It is recommended that you advise your employer and make suitable plans.

  • Will my employer be notified of my participation?
    • Yes, if they request it. Some employers want to know which staff are participating so that they can better support your involvement (for example by allowing participation in work time or making operational changes). The information may also help employers plan their own professional development programs.

  • What if I decide to leave the program?
    • Participation in the program is a six-month commitment. However if you believe the relationship is no longer productive or there are other reasons for leaving the program early, please contact the Program Coordinator.

  • How are issues addressed during the program?
    • If at any time during the program you experience problems, please contact the Program Coordinator.

  • Do we have to end the mentoring relationship after the six-month program?
    • No. Pairs are encouraged to continue their mentoring relationship beyond this program. It is a great way to build a dynamic professional network and we hope that the mentoring relationship continues throughout your career.

  • Can I be part of future WiT Mentoring Programs?
    • Yes. Participants can reapply to be part of future programs, but they will be matched with a new mentee/ mentor to maximise their personal and professional development.

  • I’m a mentee. Can I be a mentor next time?
    • Yes. Mentees are encouraged to become mentors in future program rounds if they meet the expectations and eligibility.

  • I’m a mentor. Can I be a mentee next time?
    • Yes. Our mentors have a wealth of experience in industry and in their field and often hold senior roles. So as long as you meet the expectations and eligibility, we can likely match you with an appropriate mentor.

Eligibility

Mentees and mentors can work in any role in any Victorian government agency or private business in Victoria's transport industry.

You can apply to be a mentor, mentee or both.

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, those with disability, people who arrived as a migrant, refugee or asylum seeker and LGBTIQA+ people.

Mentees must be female and:

  • have at least one year of experience in the transport industry
  • not be part of any other structured mentoring or graduate program

The WiT Mentoring Program is open to all women, including non-binary and gender non-conforming people and all those who identify as women. Self-definition is at the discretion of the individual.

We recognise that gender is a self identification, and that there is a range of language that people may use to articulate their experience of gender.

Mentors can be male or female and must have:

  • at least five + years of experience in their field
  • at least one year of experience in the transport industry
  • the skill and experience to provide guidance to a mentee.

Mentors do not need to be senior managers or experts. This program could be an opportunity to realise just how much you can contribute to industry.


How to apply

Applications are made online via Mentorloop. To apply, click the link here.

It should take 5-10 minutes to complete your application. You can save and revisit your application before it is submitted

You'll be notified of progress and next steps via Mentorloop and the Program Coordinator at witprograms@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au.


Contact

Please email any queries to the Program Coordinator, Industry Capability and Inclusion Team, Level Crossing Removal Project.

E: witprograms@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au

View the PDF version of this guide PDF, 441.1 KB.

View the PDF flyer for Round 2, 2021 PDF, 220.3 KB.

Participants in the Women in Transport mentoring program at a training session

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