Ahead of the next round of applications for our mentoring programme, we hear from former mentee Shama Tatler on her experience of the scheme.
I have been always been interested in politics but never more than being a voter passionate about left-wing values. Upon graduating I became a teacher. Following the 2010 general election and, subsequently, seeing how state education was being ideologically dismantled, I decided to become active in politics. I had no idea what to do, how present myself or make an active contribution in protecting education.
I applied for the Fabian Women’s Network Mentoring Programme after meeting some former mentees and was lucky enough to get a place on the 2013-14 cohort. The mentoring scheme has changed my life. The year on the scheme was motivating and empowering: I learned to be proud of my skills and not shy away from my ambitions. It felt great to be part of a group of like-minded women who were all on a similar journey. The sessions, residentials and advice from sitting MPs, MEPs and peers was invaluable. The friendships I have made with my fellow mentees is perhaps the best thing about the scheme. Whatever, I decide to pursue in politics, I know there is group of strong, smart and supportive women who will be in my corner – and I, in turn, will be in their corner.
Since my time on the mentoring scheme, I have achieved many things. I was elected to become a councillor in Brent where I am the assistant lead member for children and young people, and I am also currently on the Fabian Women’s Network executive committee. In addition, I have organised and chaired two events for FWN – one on maternity pay and the other on childcare, the latter also including producing a pamphlet. All this has been achieved through the confidence, support and skills gained on the mentoring scheme.
I am proud to be a teacher but my time on the FWN mentoring scheme has given me the confidence to campaign and work in areas that I am passionate about. I would recommend it to anyone!
Shama Tatler is a Labour councillor for Fryent Ward, London borough of Brent. She tweets @ShamaTatler
Applications for places on the fifth cohort of our mentoring programme will open for Fabian members in the coming days. Details will be posted here.