LMF’s Mentoring Programme, the Largest Digital Scheme in the UK

In July 2021, LMF hosted a celebration event to mark the end of the second cohort of our mentoring programme. Read more about this initiative and why mentoring is so important.

In February 2021, we launched the largest digital mentoring programme by a not-for-profit in the UK.

The six-month virtual scheme aims to empower mentees to progress confidently with their careers and bridge the skills gap.

This year, more than 600 participants from 14 different countries signed to be part of this initiative.

“KTN and LMF work in collaboration to create a vibrant community of female role models, sharing knowledge and encouraging entrepreneurial growth for women throughout the UK.

- Siwan Smith, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at KTN

The best part of our scheme is its diversity:

  • 97% of the applicants identify as female, non-binary or gender-fluid
  • 70% of mentees come from BAME backgrounds
  • 70% of the participants have 0 to 5 years of work experience
  • 91% of the participants between 18 and 35 years old
  • 50% of our participants are from outside the UK

We partnered with organisations like Stripe, Perlego, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Capital Placement, and Charity Learning Consortium for this second edition.

“We are so excited to be partnering with the LMF Network and together continuing to disrupt the job market with young and diverse talent.”

- Vinay Vimalan , CEO of Capital Placement

Some of the programme’s achievements

Mentees

  • 97% were “matched with a perfect mentor”
  • 89% felt upskilled after each workshop
  • 96% of our mentees feel more confident to take new challenges
  • 93% feel more confident in determining their career goals

Mentors

  • 92% were satisfied with the lunch & learns events
  • 88% rated the quality content “very high quality”
  • 82% think they’ve been able to support and upskill their partner

We are also quite proud that 98% of our mentees and mentors would recommend our mentoring programme to a friend!

What does our mentoring programme offer?

LMF’s mentoring scheme is aimed to upskill both mentees and mentors.

As a mentee, you will work on your personal and professional development. A mentor can help you identify the skills needed, set goals together, and help you stay focused and on track in your career. In addition, they can help you navigate various work situations based on their own experience in their organization.

“I hosted a workshop on networking as part of the programme. I regularly host sessions such as this as part of my role, but I remember this being such a positive and interactive experience, with attendees really jumping in, getting involved and helping others.”

- Siwan Smith from KTN

In the mentoring programme, mentees have access to:

  • At least 1 hour of mentoring 121 each month
  • 6 career-based workshops, led by experts and partners
  • Access to exclusive networking events
  • Entry to interactive Slack and LinkedIn groups
  • Support from the wider community

“…during the program, we had the opportunity to host a workshop on CV editing. It allowed us to have a very frank conversation about it and speak to the mentees one-on-one about how we can help with their CVs. As an international internship provider, this has been incredibly beneficial for us when it comes to helping our clientele’s career journey, and we love being a part of something bigger than us.”

- Julia Hurtado, Marketing And Business Development Associate at Capital Placement

Mentors gain the opportunity to reflect on their own development, build on key skills such as listening, questioning, facilitation, empathising and rapport building. LMF’s programme also invites them to believe in their confidence and self-esteem whilst levelling up others through your support.

Through the scheme, mentors get:

  • Mentor training led by experts
  • Mentor networking lunch & learns
  • Access to exclusive networking events
  • At least 1 hour of mentoring 121 each month
  • Entry to interactive Slack and LinkedIn groups
  • A supportive community of people from all over the world

Martin Baker, CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, expressed that they were “excited to be part of this project and are looking forward to seeing the results and feedback to really gauge its impact on those involved” when we started the second edition in February 2021.

Why is LMF an advocate of mentoring?

Mentoring is a learning relationship with the objective to drive personal growth, building skills, knowledge and understanding.

“There is a strong body of evidence that mentoring can be an effective way to move the needle on improving diversity in professional settings, so we’re excited to partner with LMF. We’ve had dozens of mentors from Stripe sign up to be a mentor already, and we’re eager to get going.”

- Aarthi Paul, Enterprise Lead at Stripe

But for LMF, mentoring is a powerful tool to make diversity a reality. People from underrepresented groups can benefit from mentoring as it provides opportunities for networking and skills development.

That is one of our core aims: bridging the skills gap and supporting the creation of inclusive workplaces.

We love mentoring because both mentors and mentees feel empowered by the relationships they build and how this helps them develop greater confidence.

The benefits of mentoring

One of the reasons why the mentoring programme was created in 2020 was due to the impact of Covid-19. It was estimated that 1 in 10 people would lose their jobs or would be asked to reskill. This situation impacted women and marginalised groups the most, increasing the pay and skills gap.

That is why mentoring is critical to our community’s career success.

“When I joined this program, I was really confused about my future career prospects. While I have a great job, I’m looking to make a career move and switch industries, which is quite an overwhelming and difficult task to accomplish”, explained Aleena Ahmad, a mentee in our second cohort. “My mentor has really helped me in mapping out the path I need to take in order to understand what I want to be doing with my career by not only acknowledging my concerns but giving advice that has helped me find answers myself and has pushed me towards the right direction.”

But mentoring is not only a powerful tool in professional development. It also helps mentees to be more self-aware about themselves. “Being more self-aware enabled me to stop a recent period of burnout before it got too serious. I am incredibly thankful for the tools my mentor has given me to manage my stress and concerns independently — it feels very empowering!”, expressed Lucy Hole, mentee.

Farah Shariff, another mentee, saw the benefits of mentoring. “I have always been a self-critical person, but the encouragement from my mentor has meant that I am not so hard on myself now and give myself more credit. This, in particular, has been a big change for me and would not have happened if it wasn’t for my mentor.”

Mentors also benefit from mentoring. It helps them reinforce their knowledge about a particular topic and improve their listening and interpersonal skills. Mentoring has career progression benefits for mentors since helping someone can be seen as essential by companies.

My mentee and I discussed the topic of women in tech, and I challenged her to go and do some further research on the topic and find out about women in the industry. I was really proud of her for coming back to me during the following week and having a whole new perspective on the topic after actively contacting women who work within tech and reading a bunch of articles”, shared Tina Pienkuukka, one of our 2021 mentors.

During our programme, we couldn’t miss the strong bonds being built between mentor and mentee and how proud mentors are of their mentees achieving their goals.

María McMath, a 2021 mentor, mentioned that she counselled her mentee “to ask for a promotion and raise, and she went for it and got them both! She also updated her LinkedIn profile from a university graduate to a full professional — I’m super proud of her.”

Mentor Rebecca Cann, also expressed how she felt about seeing her mentee grow. “My mentee has researched small business grants and put forward an application…She mentioned she’d never normally put herself out there but her confidence in speaking with me has helped her initiate it…She’s done so many things these last few months, she wouldn’t have done without this programme. It’s been wonderful to watch.”

What our partners have said about the LMF mentoring programme?

Siwan Smith from KTN shared that she “was extremely impressed by the reach of the programme and the diversity of the participants. Being a partner in the LMF mentoring programme was fantastic. The LMF team were super at keeping us updated, as well as communicating with the cohort and providing much-needed networking opportunities.”

On the other hand, Julia Hurtado from Capital Placement mentioned that LMF’s mentoring programme has been “an incredible way to work, learn and help talented individuals grow in their careers. It has helped us start conversations with professionals on what they need to get to the next in their careers and how we can support them in their journey.”

“We all learn from each other and it’s vital that we pass on information and share experiences from one generation to another”, expressed Martin Baker, CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium. “In life it’s important we have role models and mentors and what I love about the LMF mentoring program is that it is making this available in a work context to help young people, globally!”

This blog contribution was made by Alejandra (Alex) Chávez Menéndez.

Alex is a Communications and Public Affairs Consultant with seven years of experience. She is passionate about helping organisations tell their stories and engage with their stakeholders.

She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and Management from University College London (UCL).

Since March 2021, Alex is Press and Communications Lead for LMF Network (London).

How can you keep in touch?

Email — hello@lmfnetwork.com |LinkedIn |Instagram | Slack

What is LMF Network?

The LMF Network is a global social enterprise (not for profit) focused on empowering, enabling & educating women and marginalised groups into tech, entrepreneurship & digital. We specialise in designing and delivering accessible programmes and supporting a global community. We’ve gone from a brunch club to a social good brand based on what the community wanted. We are a real community run by real people.

Bridging the skills gap and changing the narrative of inclusion! Global social enterprise and not for profit. 35K + Following; Community, Mentoring + Workshops!