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CERN’s Women In Technology group launches a mentoring programme

In 2018, the Women In Technology group launched a pilot mentoring programme with 11 mentor-mentee pairs to offer guidance to young CERN colleagues


CERN Women in Technology (WIT) mentorship programme
Training session for the mentors and mentees involved in the Women in Technology mentoring programme (Image: CERN)


Last year, CERN’s Women In Technology* (WIT) Steering Committee launched a pilot mentoring programme to offer talented young people at CERN, in particular women, guidance on career evolution and to help them have a more enriching working experience, reducing feelings of isolation and balancing work and personal commitments.

The Mentoring Programme has given me the opportunity to tap into the experience and knowledge of someone with a completely different background at CERN. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and working with my mentor, whom I don’t believe I would have met without the WIT initiative. We have even decided to continue our meet-ups after the end of the formal programme because it was such a positive experience for both of us.
A mentee

As we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, it is important to remember that work still needs to be done to achieve gender equality and to foster full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

Over six months, 11 mentors shared their knowledge of CERN and their experience with 11 of their young colleagues. “We received many expressions of interest from the WIT community to put in place a structured mentoring scheme,” explains Maria Alandes (IT department), the main organiser of the pilot programme. “So we decided to organise a pilot programme. Eleven of our experienced colleagues volunteered to be mentors and we received 15 applications from potential mentees.”

The WIT Mentoring Programme Committee therefore formed 11 mentor-mentee pairs, connecting people from the same department or field. “We organised a training session in May so that everyone had a good understanding of what mentoring actually is,” adds Maria. “The pairs then met privately to define their objectives together and, from there, followed their own path.”

Our mentoring process was highly beneficial for both of us. The reason is that we quickly built mutual trust and confirmed shared values. I learned a lot from my mentee and hope to continue this enriching experience with her.
A mentor

Although the mentoring relationship is confidential, the WIT Mentoring Programme Committee remains available throughout: “We are the central referral point for mentees and mentors who have questions or problems, so that any issues can be resolved in a timely manner,” adds Maria.

The pilot programme, which is now over, was a great success and the WIT Mentoring Programme Committee is preparing to organise the 2019 programme.

Want to take part in the 2019 mentoring programme as a mentor or mentee? Write to wit-mentoring-committee@cern.ch.


*The WIT group is independent and works on a voluntary basis. For more information, go to: https://women-in-technology.web.cern.ch/