More than 900 civil servants have signed up to this year’s revamped LGBT+ Network mentoring scheme.
The scheme, which was launched last year and triumphed in the Developing and Supporting People category at last year’s Civil Service Awards, now offers greater flexibility for participants.
So far, 915 mentors and mentees across 89 civil service organisations have signed up to this year’s scheme, which has been adapted to allow people to be matched based on their profession of interest and their LGBT+ identity. Last year, 850 people participated across 80 organisations.
The deadline to register is this Friday, 24 June, an extension to the previous 17 June deadline.
The programme is led by network chair John Peart, who has designed and delivered the project in his spare time.
"I'm delighted that more than 900 people have signed up to take part in this award winning programme for its second year," Peart told CSW.
"We created the programme to support LGBT+ staff in their career development and to highlight LGBT+ role models across the civil service. I hope those taking part will be able to give their career a boost and help them to build their professional network across government."
The network matches mentees with up to three potential matches, who are one or two grades senior than their mentees and they do not work in the same department. It also runs separate induction sessions for mentors and mentees to give them support and training.
Once they have been matched, mentees are responsible for contacting their potential mentors to arrange an initial session. If both participants decide they are a good match, they can meet as often as they agree, supported by the network, which will send regular reminders, tips and advice about how to get the most from the mentoring relationship.
The two main updates to the scheme this year will give participants more choice over who they match with.
Previously, participants were matched based on their profession, but some who took part said they would have preferred a mentor from the profession they wanted to move into rather than the one they were in at the time. This year, mentees can be matched based on the profession of their choice.
Participants will also get the opportunity this year to match with someone who they share an identity with, another suggestion from last year’s participants. The network will not share participants’ preferences or details of their identity with their matches.
The network said it cannot guarantee that participants will be matched with someone sharing their characteristics, as it will depend on numbers available.
Other changes to the scheme this year include a new optional biography section to help mentors and mentees understand more about what their match is like and a new digital automated matching tool.
Last year, participants were manually matched.