FWN Mentoring Programme


Applications are now open 

Applications for the next cohort (2020/2021) will open on 11 August 2020 and close on 6 September 2020.

Following the astounding success of the first nine years of the Fabian Women’s Network mentoring and political education programme, we are now recruiting our tenth cohort of aspiring women. 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.

The scheme launched in 2011 on International Women’s Day and since then has gone from strength to strength. Over 250 women have now completed the scheme and each of the nine cohorts over ten months, has received mentoring as well as taking part in organised training and networking activities. The scheme includes time spent in Parliament in London, a trip to examine devolved government, a series of networking and other events and a residential weekend where mentees will take part in training and further development in the core skills required to be 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 elected or selected or shortlisted as Parliamentary candidates, and as candidates for the London and Welsh Assembly with brilliant support from other mentees.  45 women have been elected into local government positions and subsequently promoted into cabinet positions, and a large number of women have gone on to become school governors and trustees on the boards of charities. Some have formed their own charities. The majority of mentees have gained promotion earlier than anticipated, written for or spoken in national and international media. Many report that their lives have been transformed.

How To Apply 

Applicants must be able to demonstrate a clear interest in politics and public life and a commitment to their own and others’ development in their application. The scheme will run from late autumn for approximately 10 months (timings dependant on further lockdowns). Applicants must join the Fabian Society if they are not already members.

To apply for the tenth cohort of the FWN mentoring scheme, you must submit a completed application form, a concise CV and a Diversity Monitoring Form by email to FWNmentoring@fabians.org.uk

The deadline for applications to be a participant on the scheme is midnight 6th September 2020.  We regret that applications for this cohort will not be accepted after this date.

For queries please contact the scheme Coordinator Christine Megson at christine.megson2@ntlworld.com

What our alumni say

“I began the mentoring programme a full time lawyer in the financial sector. I am now a Labour councillor, prison monitor and member of the FWN Executive Committee. I have been published in the Fabian Review and am working on putting on a play with a theatre maker I met on the programme. How’s that for life changing?!”

Sheila Chapman, cohort 6

Before the scheme I felt things. Now I do something about them. I realised through the mentoring scheme you cannot wait for anyone else to do it, it gave me the skills to step up and the resilience to deal with the white noise of nonsense.

I am glad I took the mentoring scheme, it literally was life changing. 

Tamara Cincik, cohort 5. Has since set up both Glass Ceiling, not Glass Slipper and Fashion Roundtable

For me, the Fabian Women Mentoring Programme was truly transformational. Not only did I build an exceptional network of phenomenal women, but in getting to know them and gaining access to some of my heroes in the world of politics, the programme provoked powerful and important questions for me to answer about my values and political convictions. 

Priscilla Mensah, cohort 6

Without the encouragement of my Fabian sisters, I would have been unlikely to stand. I stood and I did well. I’ve subsequently been re-selected as the PPC. 

Ultimately, what did the mentoring programme give me? It gave me the basic political knowledge I need to understand this new world I am seeking to be part of; it showed me a way to make contacts and network in order to get things done; and it gave me the confidence to speak in front of crowds, on TV and in debate. Most importantly, I am connected to a large group of impressive, diverse, and influential women whose positive influence in my life spurs me on to do better.

Sarah Church, cohort 5. PPC South Swindon

I’ve been elected as a councillor for Rose Hill and Iffley ward, Oxford. I put myself forward after taking part in a year-long political mentoring programme run by the Fabian Women’s Network to increase the representation of women in politics. 

This scheme totally demystified power and politics for me, and helped me understand even more clearly why women with intersectional identities are still missing from the hallways, corridors, rooms and chambers in the House of Commons and local government.  We are locked out from these spaces because of structural inequalities that exist in wider society.

The mentoring programme helped me navigate my way through these structural barriers, get elected, go on to mentor  women and build a network of women who like me believe in the power of pulling women up rather than pushing women down. 

Shaista Aziz, cohort 6. Councillor, journalist and campaigner

‘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 4. Head of Campaigns Business in the Community

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 3. Councillor

The mentoring proramme has played a significant and ongoing role in my life. When I took part in the scheme a number of years ago, I was new to London and doing a commercial job I didn’t love. The knowledge sessions, networks, and relationship with my mentor (a Shadow Cabinet Minister) gave me the confidence to switch careers into politics.

However what is really wonderful about the FWN mentoring programme is that it doesn’t stop once your ten months are up. I was elected to the FWN Executive Committee and helped to run the scheme for a number of years. My experiences and networks helped me put in successful applications for roles in Westminster, at London’s City Hall, to campaign in the US Presidential Election and even to secure an exciting job on the other side of the world. They helped me through more challenging times too.

I am still in regular contact with women from my cohort, as well as women who have subsequently joined our network, who provide an abundance of advice, support, and inspiration. I suspect many of them will remain in my life for years to come. I feel incredibly lucky that so many outstanding women have my back.

Kate Talbot, cohort 2. Senior Media and Communications Officer

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 2 Head of Regional Health Partnerships West Yorkshire.

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 3. Promoted to Director of Oxford Foundry.

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 3. Teacher and 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 4.  University Lecturer and Councillor

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 4. Director of Wen Wales

I’m now putting myself forward for things I never would have dreamed of doing before – I’m setting my own bar higher. 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-Asare, cohort 4. Greater London Authority

22 responses to “FWN Mentoring Programme

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  17. I would really like to do this. I have already made a speech in Brussels and I have a good understanding of Politics

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