Women’s mentoring scheme unveiled

A government-funded mentoring programme has been unveiled, aimed at helping
to increase the proportion of women in science and engineering jobs.

The £80,000, three-year initiative is part of a number of measures announced
by Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt to encourage more women into
these sectors.

HSBC, Astra Zeneca, HSBC, BAe, Alstom Power and Ford are among the companies
which have already backed the mentoring scheme.

Ford has just started a mentoring scheme, which has paired 22 students with
managers from different parts of the business.

Shaheen Akram, Ford’s diversity recruitment officer, said 50 per cent of the
intake are women and she is optimistic it will encourage them to consider a
career with the company by giving them a hands-on taste of what it is like to
work in the sector.

Hewitt also outlined proposals for new core government funding of £35,000
per year for a Women in Science and Engineering Campaign and the launch of the
Franklin Medal to raise the profile of women in science.

A new high-level group led by Baroness Susan Greenfield has been formed to
develop a strategy to improve women’s participation across the sciences.

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