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Mentoring matters in planning – and here’s why

The first Women in Planning Mentoring Scheme launched on International Women’s Day 2021. Both the inaugural 2021-2022 scheme and the recently launched 2022-2023 scheme were oversubscribed within 48 hours, which shows the demand for mentoring and support for women in our industry.

There are the more obvious benefits to having a mentor, such as learning from their knowledge and experience, broadening professional networks and having someone to turn to for advice. Perhaps, though, the most rewarding parts of mentoring relationships are more personal.

A mentor gets to know a mentee, their strengths and weaknesses, and helps the mentee become a better version of themself. A mentor has the opportunity to establish and develop their leadership skills, strengthen their knowledge and gain new perspectives from their mentee.

A mentee is supported and encouraged, benefits from an independent sounding board for discussions and access to a wealth of knowledge and experience. Access to a mentor independent of a mentee’s workplace is invaluable and can open up opportunities that may not have been considered, let alone discussed with a mentor at the same workplace.

“The industry needs increased diversity, particularly in senior roles”

It is difficult to quantify the difference mentoring makes, but one way it does reveal itself is in self-confidence. That could be the confidence to ask a question in a meeting, negotiating a pay rise or promotion, volunteering to give a presentation or having the nerve to walk into a networking event alone. On their own, these things may seem small; over time they add up and have the potential to make huge impacts on career progression and, in the longer term, to boost diversity in senior positions in the planning industry with better representation of women.

A mentoring relationship is beneficial to both the mentor and the mentee, but the results of such relationships have wider impacts. The industry needs increased diversity, particularly in senior roles, and mentoring has the power to support people to reach those positions.

Women in Planning has been so pleased with the response to the scheme and we are excited to relaunch it for a second year. We hope that it continues to offer women in our industry the chance to receive support from other planning professionals.

Emma Cartledge-Taylor and Jessica Herrity are co-chairs of the Women in Planning Mentoring Scheme Working Group

Image credit | Shutterstock


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