Women in Defence mentoring programme – Amey’s mentors and mentees reach the half-way point

28 January 2021
Side by side image of a soldier and an Amey employee wearing PPE.

Amey is proud to be a partner of Women in Defence UK and is committed to driving inclusion and diversity within the Defence sector by providing fair opportunities for women to succeed at all levels and build a more gender balanced environment in which to work. 

The partnership has provided us with the opportunity to take part in the Women in Defence mentoring programme, which started in September 2020, and is due to finish in May this year. Our involvement in the programme is significant, eight of Amey’s high achieving women were carefully matched with mentors from across the sector, and eight Amey employees (male and female) were selected to mentor eight women in other areas of the Defence businessincluding the Armed Forces and MOD Civil Service. 

Last week marked the half-way point in the programme, and our mentors and mentees were invited to take part in an online ‘mid-way’ Moving Ahead event which allowed those in the programme to reflect on their progress. Around 100 individuals took part and had the opportunity to listen to several presentations including one from Cath Bishop, ex Olympian rower and ex-diplomat, before breaking into groups of 4-5 to share their experiences. 

Richard Castell, Amey’s Operational Relationships Manager and ex-Colonel in the Army was selected as one of our mentors and is really enjoying the programme.  

He commented, “I have been matched with a mentee from the Royal Airforce, a bright, capable and ambitious officer with an impressive military record and significant career potential. After email introductions and an informal but focused phone call we agreed some broad objectives and fixed a COVID-safe meeting at an RAF base in the Midlands. Further phone calls, emails and a second face-to-face meeting have followed.” 

Richard is finding the whole experience rewarding, insightful and enjoyable and he has learnt a lot from the programme. He’s been impressed with how his mentee has responded and engaged with the process and is delighted that his mentee was interviewed (against stiff competition) and selected for a prestigious role that entailed promotion and a significant lifestyle change.  

Richard added, “Our early discussions had been around interview preparation and what the change of role would mean to her and her family. They have since broadened to the next phase and the opportunities that are open to her, and I look forward with enthusiasm to the final few months of the programme, confident that I will continue to learn and grow from the experience.” 

Robyn May, Amey’s Additional Works Project Planning Manager, is finding her experience of being mentored equally as rewarding. Robyn is being mentored by a Senior Manager in UK Strategic Command and feels that she has been matched extremely well.  

She commented, “Our plan was to meet face-to-face but with COVID restrictions our sessions are conducted online but we speak at least once a month. My mentor is supporting me with helping to build my confidence and I am given tasks to complete for our next session. Our focus is confidence, self-belief, career goals, expectations and the importance of work/life balance. We’re also working on my 5-year plan and how I can achieve it.” 

Robyn put herself forward for the programme because she wasn’t sure which path her career should take and wanted some guidance from other areas of the Defence sector on what opportunities might be available for her in the future. 

“I’ve learnt a lot about myself and how I should be proud of what I achieve, it may sound silly, but my confidence is what holds me back. We talk about self-belief which is not just about being proud of work achievements but also personal goals. We discuss the things in my life which I potentially may need to sacrifice for a while so I can achieve my career goals but will ultimately be about balance in the future.