Applications for the next cohort (2018/19) will open at the end of May.
The Fabian Women’s Network mentoring and political education programme has grown from strength to strength over the last seven years.
We will be recruiting our eight cohort of aspiring women at the end of May for the mentoring scheme, which runs from autumn 2018 to summer 2019. If you are a woman looking to develop or further a career in politics or public life then this could be the scheme for you.
Taking part will enable you to develop your political skills and increase the impact and influence you can have on political and public life through mentoring from one of a number of highly influential women along with bespoke training and peer group support.
This mentoring scheme launched on International Women’s Day in 2011 and we’ve seen over 200 women graduate from the scheme since. Seven cohorts have received mentoring so far as well as taking part in organised training and networking activities. The scheme includes time spent in Parliament in London, a trip to the European Parliament in Brussels or a look at devolution in the UK, a series of networking and other events and a residential weekend where mentees will take part in extensive training and further development in the core skills required to become effective in public or parliamentary life.
The programme has already delivered some incredible results for its participants and the Fabian Women’s Network. Mentees have been selected or shortlisted as Parliamentary candidates, as candidates for the London and Welsh Assembly with brilliant support from other mentees all along the way. Many others were shortlisted. Over 30 women have been elected into local government positions and subsequently promoted into cabinet positions with others selected for the 2018 elections. A number of women have also gone on to become school governors and trustees on the boards of charities. The majority has gained promotion, been nominated for awards and written or spoken in national media.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate a clear interest in politics and public life and a commitment to their own and others’ development. The 2018/19 scheme will run from mid-September 2018 to summer 2019.
For queries please contact Christine Megson at email@example.com.
How to apply
Once the next application round opens, you will be able to download an application form and a diversity form from this site. We will ask you to submit completed forms, along with a concise CV, to FWNmentoring@fabians.org.uk.
Please note mentees need to be members of the Fabian Society. If you are not already a member you can join here.
What our alumni have to say:
The FWN mentoring scheme taught me to stop apologising for my ambition, and it gave me the support system to feel confident enough to achieve my goals.
Ludo Orlando, Field Organiser for Hillary for America, subsequently appointed to assist Brendan Cox at the Jo Cox Foundation. Cohort six (2016-17).
As someone in her fifties with teenage children what has been enormously significant is the opportunity the programme has provided to reflect on what my focus should be at this stage in my life. It is the first time in many years I have been able to think about my goals, and it has come at exactly the right time. The support of the other mentees has been invaluable and has offered a wealth of talent, experience and general goodwill to draw upon if I need it. Simply seeing what the other mentees have achieved has been inspirational. Whenever that nagging inner voice says, ‘I can’t do this’, I can now look around at other women who HAVE done it, and find the confidence to move forward.
Jane Middleton, cohort six (2016-17)
One of the real stand-outs of an all-round outstanding experience has been the other women in my cohort. What a bunch! Committed, ambitious, genuine, open, curious – I could go on. It has been such a pleasure to share this experience with them. Our different ages, backgrounds, careers to date and aspirations for the future have meant we have been able to learn so much from each other. The (virtual and real life) cheering on and support for each other has been, and continues to be, fabulous. Having a pool of intelligent women in different sectors and jobs to bounce ideas off, share expertise on policy and delivery, and laugh with has been amazing – as is knowing that network will continue to deepen beyond the formal programme end.
Jane Mansour, cohort six (2016-17)
The mentoring scheme helps to challenge you both in your professional ambitions and those assumptions you have made about what you are capable of. It has enabled me to begin to plot a way forward whilst learning from a group of talented and amazing women on the way.
Katy Neep, cohort four (2014-15)
The FWN mentoring programme has given me the confidence to push myself further than I thought I could and not just in politics. The support and encouragement from other women who have been on the programme and from the organisers and my mentor has given me the confidence to put myself forward as a council candidate, a school governor and a committee member for London Young Labour.
Unsa Chaudri (cohort three, 2013-14)
The FWN mentoring scheme had a really significant impact on me. As a young woman who had recently moved to London doing a commercial job I didn’t love, the knowledge sessions, networks, and relationship with my mentor gave me the confidence to switch careers into politics. To have a senior politician give me an hour of her time to update my CV and practise interview questions was amazing!
Kate Talbot (cohort two, 2012-13. Subsequently elected to FWN executive committee to assist with co-ordinating the mentoring scheme)
The FWN programme has found a way to support women from across the country, from across differences in faith, ethnicity, age, sexuality and class and given us the tools to make our voices count.
Rachael Loftus (cohort one, 2011-12)
The scheme gives participants a chance to challenge themselves, work on their weakness and enhance their strengths through numerous activities. It serves extremely well for political, personal and professional development and most definitely has done in my case. The scheme constantly creates new cohorts of admirable women, from all walks of life, who become eagerly enthused to enforce some form of change in a public space, in line with their own niche goals.
Anandana Bakshi (cohort three, 2013-14)
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 a similar journey. 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.
Shama Tatler (cohort three, 2013-14, elected councillor in Brent)
I think people have different versions of themselves depending on the context they are in. Whenever I leave one of the mentoring events, I walk out the door feeling like the best version of me – that I have the confidence and the support to achieve what I want to.
Hannah (cohort four, 2014-15)
The scheme is so diverse and engaging. Whether you’re dipping your toe into the idea of public or political life, or you are already quite experienced, it offers something for everyone. Nobody feels uncomfortable or out of their depth!
Joy Allen (cohort four, 2014-15, Durham County Councillor)
I feel like I’ve been mentored by everybody else on the scheme! I think mentoring gives me the permission I needed to get around the table and make a strong contribution. The balance between theory and practice on the scheme is fantastic: our public speaking training and then practice genuinely changed my view of my own potential.
Zahra Alijah (cohort four, 2014-15, elected to Manchester City Council)
The scheme has helped me find my political voice. I now feel I have legitimacy, knowledge, courage of my convictions, and the best group of supporters anyone could ask for!
Catherine Fookes (cohort four, 2014-15, Welsh Assembly candidate)
‘I’m now putting myself forward for things I never would have dreamed of doing before – I’m setting my own bar higher. With the confidence building and support I’ve received I’m now the deputy leader of my Labour Group, a shadow spokesperson, and have written for the New Statesman. The scheme has been genuinely life changing for me. People across both my personal and professional life have noticed a big change in me. If you’re thinking about applying, don’t hesitate – just go for it! I’m so glad I did.
Abena Oppong-Assare (cohort four, 2014-15, elected to Bexley council)