5 Best Mentorship Schemes In The UK That Focus On Diversity & Inclusivity
Joining a mentorship scheme can have equal benefits for both mentors and mentees. While mentees will learn new skills and build their confidence, those teaching them are likely to find the experience incredibly rewarding, and they will probably learn something along the way too. However, when it comes to finding the perfect mentorship programme, it's never going to be a one-size-fits-all situation. That’s why finding a scheme that caters to your specific needs is so important. Ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, among other factors, can present barriers both in our careers and in our everyday life, but the schemes below aim to pair mentees with people who have navigated these hurdles successfully. They focus on diversity and inclusivity to ensure that people from all walks of love have people to look up to.
But mentorship programmes can only exist with the help of volunteers. Becoming a mentor comes with a lot of responsibility, but it is a great feeling knowing that you have built a meaningful relationship with someone who is looking for guidance and support.
So, whether you’re looking to be mentored, or you think you have the skills to become a mentor, here are a list of specialist mentoring schemes in the UK:
1. BAATN Therapist Mentoring
BAATN is an independent organisation that provides a network of therapists specifically for black and brown people in the UK, understanding the intersection of race and mental health.
Now BAATN are starting up a free mentoring scheme, 'Each One, Teach One,' to provide help and support to students of Black, African, Asian, and Caribbean heritage who are training to become counsellors or psychotherapists. Students will be paired with "an experienced therapist who has successfully navigated their way through the challenging and demanding training process and survived to tell the tale," the website explains.
This is ideal for people either looking to mentor or who are starting in the profession and need some guidance.
Find out more here.
Routes aims to support refugee and asylum-seeking women through mentoring and theatre. Their mentoring scheme specifically connects refugees and asylum seekers with women from a range of different industries for four months of one-to-one mentoring. On their website, Routes explains that their scheme aims provides "mutual benefits" for both the mentor and the mentee.
"Mentees are supported to identify tangible goals — from writing a CV to applying to university, improving their digital skills to practising English — and work with their mentors to achieve them," they write. "Our mentors are trained in communication and leadership, before being given the chance to put their new skills directly into practice."
3. FLUID Diversity Mentorship For Construction
Fluid aims to diversify the construction industry in the UK through mentorship with special focus on women, black and ethnic minorities, differently abled people, people in the LGBTQ community, and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. "The programme has been developed to address the under-representation within management and leadership structures in the built environment sector," the website states.
Find out more here
4. Girls Out Loud
Girls Out Loud are helping teenage girls in the north of England with their confidence through mentoring and early intervention. They offer a 12 month mentorship, where women can apply to become a "big sister" and mentor a young person.
As the website explains, "[t]he Big Sister mentoring programme targets the girls who sit in the middle of the cohort and simply cruise and are in danger of becoming invisible as they are neither seriously disruptive, nor super academically gifted. They struggle to find their place and often get lost in the noise and either hide in the corner or look for validation in all the wrong places."
Big Sisters will also have the opportunity to connect with a network of women and work on their own personal development journey too.
Find out more here.
5. National Autistic Society Befriending Scheme
E-befriending provides online social companionship for those on the autism spectrum. The website asks for people who are "trustworthy, friendly, reliable, willing to learn and sensitive to the needs of others." The aim of the befriending scheme is to offers mentees a chance to socialise and learn new skills, helping them to feel more confident.
Find out more here.