The mentoring programme designed by women in transport for women in transport

Sponsored by TXM Recruit, Xanta, Steer and Brighton & Hove Buses

What is mentoring?

To support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be
— Eric Parsloe, The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring

Mentoring has the potential to be a powerful personal development and empowerment tool. It is a reciprocal partnership between two people (mentor and mentee), normally working in a similar field or sharing similar experiences, based upon mutual trust and respect.

The mentee is the driving force in the mentoring relationship and is responsible for determining the objective of the process. They must be prepared to be challenged and questioned in order to gain the most benefit from the relationship. The mentor can provide guidance, encouragement and help to develop solutions to career issues, options and progress.

Mentoring allows the mentee to explore new ideas in a safe environment. It is an opportunity for learning and development for both the mentee and mentor. The process is about developing greater self-awareness and taking responsibility for the direction of your career.

Eligibility for Advance

Mentors: Any manager level or above, man or woman, who currently works in or is affiliated with the transport sector can apply to be a mentor for Advance. You must be prepared to offer six one-hour sessions to your mentee between January and September 2019. A two hour training session will be provided for all mentors. You do not have to be a member of Women in Transport but we would very much welcome you if you wish to join.

Mentees: All members of Women in Transport can apply to be a mentee on Advance. You must be a member of Women in Transport in 2019 and 2020 and be prepared to commit to the mentoring relationship. You will need to dedicate time to meet your mentor who will be giving their precious time and experience to support you.

Being a mentor

The role of a mentor is to provide a safe environment for their mentee to determine their personal and professional priorities and support the development of solutions to particular issues. The process will include adapting your personal style to empathise with your mentee, providing guidance without becoming personally involved and encouraging self-awareness and self-confidence through your experience and support. Being a mentor can help you see the world from a different point of view and provide access to a wider network of professionals.

Being a mentee

As a mentee, it is your role to drive the mentoring relationship by identifying the objective and the level and nature of the advice and support that you are seeking from your mentor. Be prepared to be challenged, listen and be listened to and be open to new ideas. The relationship is intended to empower you to develop your self-confidence and progress your career in the direction you choose whilst helping you grow your professional network. All meetings should be arranged in a safe, neutral public place.

Advance Programme

Advance has been structured to address the needs of professional women in transport seeking to develop and progress their career. 

Stage 1 - Application

Complete the application questionnaire to be a mentor or mentee. You will need to complete the questionnaire and attend the training session to qualify for the programme. We cannot guarantee that you will be successfully matched as this will depend on the number of applications. 

The closing date for mentee and mentor applications was Monday 14 October 2019.

Stage 2 - Training

Mentors and mentees will be invited to a two hour training session on 21 or 22 November 2019 at 5 Chancery Lane, Holborn, London, EC4A 1BL. Please note these are the only dates available for training and will be compulsory for mentees and mentors to qualify for the programme.

Stage 3 - Matching

Angela Gainsford and Sonya Veerasamy will pro-actively undertake the screening process to pair suitable mentors and mentees. You will also receive an email confirming the match after the training.

Stage 4 - Mentoring

All pairs can meet informally at our Annual Mince Pies and Networking Event in London on 3 December 2019, generously hosted by Turner and Townsend. The mentoring relationship will commence with a commitment to meet a minimum of six times up until September 2020.

Stage 5 - Review

We will evaluate the programme in March 2020 and September 2020. Angela and Sonya will remain available throughout the programme should you require any assistance and to answer any queries you may have. We are committed to ensuring that you are satisfied with the progress of the relationship and have a positive experience.

Stage 6 - Celebration

We will celebrate the end of the programme at the Women in Transport Autumn Reception in Autumn 2020.

Our CEO, Sonya Byers, delivered a workshop on advancing your career through mentoring for TfL’s Women's Staff Network Group on Monday 16 September 2019 ahead of the launch for applications to join Advance 2020. Watch the video for tips on how to prepare for a successful mentoring relationship.


The third year of our annual mentoring programme has been made possible by the invaluable support of our corporate partners. A special thanks to TXM Recruit and Xanta who have supported the programme since the first year and Steer who have continued their support for a second year. A very warm welcome to Brighton & Hove Buses.

TXM Recruit is an award-winning, engineering talent search specialist. It is the only privately owned, multi-site engineering recruitment business offering a complete end-to-end resource solution. It provides contract, interim and permanent recruitment services into three core sectors: built environment, manufacturing and rail. Voted “Best Engineering Recruitment Company to Work For”, TXM Recruit goes above and beyond to empower, motivate and develop its people, inspiring them to go “The Xtra Mile” in everything they do.

Xanta is a rail engineering management consultancy specialising in rail and other guided systems, providing all aspects of rail technical management and delivery, engineering services, strategic organisational support and interim staff. Xanta has extensive experience with tram, light rail, metro, mainline and freight railways in the UK and abroad, and proven success at delivering projects, technical reports and investigations, bringing together consultant teams with the right skills and experience. Xanta assists its clients in getting the best out of transport assets and systems, improving performance and results, is on both the TfL Rail Engineering PSFW and the DfT STAR Two Frameworks.

Steer is a firm of specialists: strategists, researchers, analysts, economists, planners, designers, engineers and technologists. Infrastructure, cities and transport are constantly evolving to meet new demands, new ideas and new technologies. Mixing rigour and technical expertise with an open-minded, imaginative approach, Steer helps its clients maximise opportunity and realise value within this rapidly-changing landscape. It combines its commercial, economic and planning expertise to find powerful answers to complex questions. Steer’s role in helping people, places and economies thrive means social responsibility is an important part of its values. At Steer, they encourage each other to support and contribute positively to their local communities and environments.


Brighton & Hove Buses rack up 66 million journeys a year, the most bus journeys per head outside London and equivalent to the country's entire population. Its comprehensive network of over 3,000 bus stops is served by a low emissions fleet of 430 buses that it invests more than £9 million a year in, achieving customer satisfaction levels of 92%. It is committed to investing in its people, through training, mentoring, and working hard on a growing culture of inclusive leadership through its Dignity and Respect Partnership with Unite and to reflect the diversity of the communities it is very much a part of.

Our thanks to SR Group for generously hosting our matching meeting and Lewis Silkin for hosting our mentoring training sessions. Your support is invaluable.

Designed by women in transport


I am a longtime member and enthusiastic supporter of Women in Transport. I am thrilled to have been able to create, in collaboration with Sonya, the Advance mentoring programme for our members.


I am Chief Executive of Women in Transport and have been a member since 2008. The response to Advance has been phenomenal from mentees, mentors and across industry. It has become a real value add for our members; actively supporting their professional development.