Women at Amey Leadership Programme

We recognise diversity is key to productivity and performance. A review of talent within the organisation highlighted a particular challenge with regards to a lack of females in senior positions, all be we had a potential pipeline of female talent.

What did we do?

We decided to design and deliver a Women@Amey Leadership Development Programme, exclusive to female applicants within Amey as a means to support their onward progression within Amey.

The underlying principle of the programme was to provide the applications with the tools and confidence to the lead and drive their own career. The programme ran over 18 months and centred around three core aspects:

  1. Internal development
  2. Coaching and mentoring
  3. Externally developed bespoke skills programme

The programme included a day per month of formal training, in addition to self-study and activity. The formal training included:

  • 2-day Insights Discovery (learning about themselves and the way people work in a team)
  • 4-day bespoke development course from Skills 4UK focussing on being authentic, communicating in the workplace and planning for the future
  • Funding for competency development specific to their individual need; this included Commercial Awareness, Negotiation and Influencing, Finance, CV writing and Interviewing.
  • Workshops on Commercial & Finance, Resilience, Personal Brand & External Brand, Communicating & Negotiating with confidence
  • In addition, each participant was provided with:
  • Associate Membership and career development advice from the Women Leaders Association (WLA) giving access to a wide range of self-learning tools
  • 1-2-1 Mentorship programme with senior leaders building close internal relationships
  • Senior networking sessions to develop confidence and build relationships
  • Support from a 2017 Women@Amey programme ‘buddy’

The programme was supported by our Executive Committee, some of whom were appointed mentors. A pilot programme was undertaken in 2018/19, with outcomes to inform and shape a 2019/20 programme. 

The programme was delivered via a mixture of face to face and online training, all co-ordinated by our Group HR Learning and Development Team. Participants had monthly calls to discuss a chosen topic, each facilitated by a different member of the cohort. These calls enable the cohort to build stronger relationships, personal confidence, resilience, long term friendships and peer support, empowering one another by providing support and advice on career development and opportunities. Everyone had a £1500 training budget on top of the pre-organised content.

Leadership buy-in was achieved through our Women@Amey Committee Chair sharing updates at a senior level, engaging managers and leaders in the programme from the start and having them involved as mentors on the programme. We also used senior leadership team members to deliver some of the content, e.g. joining monthly calls or giving presentations.

Managers and mentors were all invited to the end of programme celebration which took place virtually in 2020. Participants present their journey and experience to a small audience and answer questions about the programme.

What impact did this have?

The 2018/2019 pilot:

  • The programme invited applications from our middle to senior operations managers and formed a year-long programme.
  • We had 20 applications, of which 77% have since seen a lateral or promotional move 

Building on the success of the pilot we widened the application criteria to include all managers from any role. This attracted those working in Group functions who might be looking to cross into operational roles.  A total of 200 applications were received with 23 participants selected for the programme.

From the start of the programme to present, 64% of participants saw a lateral or promotional move. The return on investment of the programme is that it is entirely self-funding when considering the cost of the programme, versus the cost of external hires into the role’s that the participants moved into.

Post programme survey: 

  • 100% of participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the programme supported them to work towards achieving theircareer development objectives.  
  • 100% participants either strongly agreed or agreed that they achieved what they wanted to from the programme
  • 5% participants either strongly agreed or agreed that their confidence had increased since starting the programme

‘The sessions that have been around understanding myself and my style have helped me in terms of more consciously adapting what I do, how I communicate, and considering my profile when doing thing. Mentoring was useful – they gave me lots of tools to use to tackle problems I was having and acted as a sounding board for some things. He helped me to trust my judgement more.’ 

‘I have a clear idea of my career development opportunities and have had open and honest discussions with my manager, I now consider myself to have a career! Before it was a job.’ 

‘The programme has provided me with the confidence to successfully take on challenges in the workplace that previously I might have shied away from, this in turn has aided my development as a manager and leader.’