Building a mentoring Scheme to Support Professional Women in Aviation and Aerospace

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Business and Law

Abstract

This collaborative project aims to tackle an existing problem faced by female professionals in aviation and aerospace in the UK - a lack of suitable mentors to assist with career progression and provide general support and guidance. Academic research identifies role models and mentoring as having a positive impact upon career progression and the lack of mentors as a significant barrier to women's career progression. Research already conducted by the PI at Airbus Group identified a requirement for a formal mentoring scheme for female professionals that addresses their career progression needs and offers social support to what is a significantly under-represented group within the workforce. Through analysis of the requirements of female professionals in relation to a mentoring scheme, the PI and co-investigator (Co-I) will work collaboratively with key personnel at the RAS, RAF and Airbus Group, to build a robust mentoring scheme that will meet this critical need.

This project offers the potential to share academic research, knowledge and expertise on the careers of female professionals in aviation and aerospace and the factors that may lead to their under-representation in the sector as well as their propensity to either leave the profession or to not return post-childbirth. It also offers the potential for the female professionals themselves, senior managers and HR practitioners to share knowledge and best practice to build upon what organisations are currently doing to attract and retain female engineers. The key working relationship will operate between the PI and at least two key senior personnel from each partner organisation, to bring together the academic expertise and practitioner experiences of staff at the University of the West of England (UWE) and the partner organisations to optimise the potential outcomes.

The project will be designed around a project group comprising academics from UWE (the PI and Co-I) and professionals, human resource practitioners and senior managers at the partner organisations, to both share best practice and work collaboratively, to build a mentoring scheme specifically for female professionals. This group will meet for half a day on a monthly basis, to review the priorities of the partner organisations and discuss the progress of the project, where appropriate, as well as identify other key people to assist with the design and delivery of the project. Alongside this, the project group members will have the opportunity to network with senior key industry members and enjoy unprecedented access to information about other organisations' strategies for tackling the under-representation of women in aviation and aerospace, along with access to academic knowledge and research.

This project group will evolve as other aviation and aerospace companies within the industry are contacted and invited to become part of a wider mentoring scheme. Key stakeholders will also be drawn into the group, at different stages, to discuss the needs of their own female members, e.g. Rolls Royce, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Augusta Westland, AJW Aviation and Little Blue Private Jets Limited, who have expressed a strong interest in participating.

The intended outcome of this project will be a robust and sustainable mentoring scheme for female professionals within the aviation and aerospace industry, which extends beyond the boundaries of the participants, to impact on the sector at the national level. The mentoring scheme will be run 'on-line', and hosted by the RAS in London. The on-line service will offer information about the scheme and training materials and potential mentors, each of whom will be fully profiled. The RAS will host two networking events per year, to bring mentors and mentees together, to review the scheme and put forward ideas for its development.

Planned Impact

The project will impact a number of key groups and audiences through a combination of the practical outcomes achieved, their dissemination and replication across multiple user groups and the sector.

The impact of the research will be felt most strongly amongst female professionals, where a requirement for mentors who can relate to and understand their needs is evident from research already conducted by the PI. Meeting these needs has the potential to strengthen the psychological contract with the organisation, create a sense of belonging and improve personal career progression. It will also send a signal to these women that they are valued by the industry.

The next direct beneficiaries will be the partner organisations, through a deeper understanding of the needs of their female employees in relation to personal career development and how this may be enhanced by creating and adopting a mentoring approach that transforms what they currently offer. The project will also feed into the broader diversity debate and provide an increased understanding of how a lack of mentors affects women at different levels of the organisation, especially those at professional levels, where the greatest attrition occurs. The main overall impact for these companies will be an enhanced ability to attract and retain skilled female engineers thereby helping to reduce attrition costs and improving business capability. The outcome will be a practical programme for change in the gender in-balance in the partner organisations and allow the partners to implement a practical process for change.

The research will impact aviation and aerospace organisations generally through knowledge sharing and participation in reciprocal mentoring arrangements, leading to the development and adoption of best practice at marginal cost to themselves. This would be complemented by the vertical integration of first, second and third tier suppliers within each organisation's strategic supply chain. Extending the scheme vertically and laterally to other aviation and aerospace companies has the long-term potential to positively impact the skill shortage in the sector, inequality at senior management levels and improvements in overall sector performance.

The research will enhance the activities of other key stakeholders, such as The Women's Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) organisations that are committed to increasing the gender balance in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in the UK, through attracting, retaining and developing female talent within these disciplines. These key stakeholders will be a critical part of the final dissemination and will be useful for benchmarking/validation throughout the project.

The research will also impact and inform government initiatives and networks, such as Athena Swan, aimed at tackling women's under-representation in science, engineering and technology. Specifically, the government recognises SET as important for economic growth in the UK and the problems it faces because of the shortage of skilled engineers, exacerbated by the small number of women entering/remaining within the profession.

This research will add to the body of knowledge within the academic community through a better understanding of women's under-representation in aviation and aerospace and how this may be tackled in part through mentoring. Dissemination of the research and the mentoring scheme will take place through academic workshops, symposiums, conferences and publications in academic and industry journals. The PI is a member of a number of academic (e.g. Gender in Management Special Interest Group), practitioner (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and voluntary sector (Fair Play South West) networks. The aim is to disseminate the research findings and best practice through a range of events.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title New alta on-line mentoring platform 
Description The alta mentoring scheme has transitioned to a new on-line platform, provided by Perform, Learn, Develop Limited. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact This transition has impacted upon the alta mentoring scheme in a number of ways. It has enabled the alta project group and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) to review the previous platform, following a period of piloting, and to make a number of improvements to the alta mentoring platform. The includes revised and simpler matching questions for mentors and mentees and a more user-friendly platform that enables mentors and mentees to keep in touch, the building of a mentoring community and the opportunity for the organisers to post news, updates, etc. There is also a survey function, that will enable the RAeS and the PI to survey members about benefits and impact of being an alta member. 
URL https://alta.onpld.com/
 
Title alta Mentoring Platform 
Description Since its launch in November, 2015, the alta mentoring platform has been developed by the partners in the alta project group. The site is live and interactive and we have made several improvements to date and aim to incorporate more changes in the future. One key change has been the matching questions completed by mentors and mentees - a decision was made to 'mirror' the questions and to remove some of the weightings. Some wording of questions was also changed to make the questions clearer. The alta group also continues to add news items to the live site and is looking at ways to develop alta for the future. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The aim has been to make the alta live site more user-friendly and to simplify the matching questions. These changes have recently been made and the new questions are currently being 'tested' by members of the project group and a small sample of women at Airbus, the RAeS and the RAF. Once we have established the new questions are more user-friendly, we will invite all of those registered with alta and 'not matched' to go back through the matching process by completing the revised questions. The impact will be that more matches are achieved. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Title alta mentoring handbook 
Description The alta handbook is a hardcopy and digital resource that accompanies and complements the bespoke alta training. It has been developed by the UWE team with input from the project industry partners. It is based on the academic research that underpins the alta scheme. It covers the origins, objectives and rationale of the alta mentoring scheme; gender stereotyping in the workplace; gender stereotyping in the workplace; and the importance and benefits of mentoring for women's careers and development, especially within the context of male dominated industries. The handbook also contains practical guidance for mentors and mentees navigating the alta scheme, as well as resources and templates to be utilised by mentors and mentees throughout the mentoring relationship, for example, records of meetings, progress, etc. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Alongside the bespoke alta training, the handbook supports good quality mentoring relationships and contributes to good understanding of mentors' and mentees' roles, responsibilities and expectations. It contributes to women's career and personal development. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Title alta mentoring platform 
Description The alta mentoring platform, a live, interactive website hosting the alta mentoring scheme designed and delivered by the project team. The platform matches mentees to mentors through an algorithm. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The alta mentoring platform is the outcome of the 13-month long knowledge exchange mentoring scheme project. It was launched on 30th October, 2016, and to date, there are 92 women registered from the partner organisations (Airbus, RAeS and RAF). All mentors and mentees who have signed up have been matched (there are 53 mentees being mentored by a total of 39 mentors). Mentees and mentors are matched electronically which is seen as the most effective way of matching (as opposed to hand matching). This algorithm based matching which is less resource intensive than hand matching, ensures that the scheme is sustainable. Mentoring is therefore live, active and building momentum. The project team made a decision to roll out alta gradually amongst the partners and the next marketing push will be at the RAF, followed by the RAeS, which is expected to boost numbers substantially. By the Autumn, 2016, the scheme will be open to women in the wider industry. This scheme is supporting women in the partner organisations in relation to career progression and general support. It is also enabling more experienced and/or senior women to develop as mentors. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Title alta on-line training 
Description The alta mentoring platform incorporates on-line mentor and mentee training, an interactive programme that must be completed by all alta mentors and mentees. The on-line training includes formal academic and practical mentor/mentee training, guidance on how to use the alta platform and complete the matching process, a module focused on the problems of gender stereotyping in the workplace and how to avoid this through mentoring, live/filmed mentoring rehearsals, an introduction to alta from the two main founding partners (the Principal Investigator and Royal Aeronautical Society partner) and questions to be completed at the end of each module (the trainee has to achieve a certain score in each module before she can progress onto the next). 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact The main impact from this innovation is the establishment of a body of female mentors who are trained in mentoring as well as the quality control of alta mentors, ensuring they have been trained in the basics of mentoring and are familiar with the alta mentoring process. All mentors must complete training before they are permitted to formally join alta. Mentee training enables potential mentees to familiarise themselves with alta mentoring, to learn what is expected from an alta mentee and to engage with the structured process involved in alta mentoring. Being able to use on-line training means that users are not required to travel to and attend formal face-to-face training and that they can complete the training in a number of sessions to meet their own schedules. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description We have spent the last twelve months (since last reporting to the ESRC in March, 2018) transitioning the running of alta to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).This has entailed the drawing up and signing (by all founding members) of a new Collaboration Agreement, based upon a business case prepared by the RAeS, preparing alta for its industry launch, which has entailed a transition to a new technology provider for the alta mentoring scheme, and testing of the new site. Alongside this, the PI has been working on an impact case study of alta, with the support (administrative and funding) of the University of the West of England. So far, an updated testimonial has been received from the RAeS Chair of the Women's Committee, with a further testimonial currently being prepared by the Airbus partner. These testimonials are based upon the pilot phase of alta and demonstrate the benefits and impact of alta, to the respective organisations and their female employees. For example, the Chair of the RAeS Women's Committee demonstrates how the alta project exposed the issue of gender diversity at the RAeS's highest levels and provided the RAeS with an opportunity to act upon this. The RAeS also supported alta's brand and gave it credibility throughout the industry. In return, alta helped to raise the profile of the women's committee which enabled it to go on to create further events around gender diversity issues. Further testimonials will be gathered one year post-industry launch of alta (March, 2020) to further measure impact.

An interview has also been conducted with an alta mentor, which again, clearly demonstrates the benefits/impact of alta. For example, the interviewee talked about the benefits of undertaking the alta mentor training and how being an alta mentor has enabled her to gain access to other parts of her industry and to get to know the industry better. She discussed how this has helped her to stay 'current', to identify new challenges in the industry and to see how the younger generation of women in the industry think about those challenges. It also enabled the interviewee to draw upon her core experiences of the industry and enforced her belief in the importance of mentoring. She also talked about alta enabling her to keep close to the industry, to network with other women and to keep in touch with younger women coming through the industry. The help she provided for her mentee included, confidence building and helping her to think more strategically about her career.

The alta Steering Committee (alta project group) is planning events throughout 2019/20 to make industry employers and employees more aware of alta and the opportunities and benefits it can offer. As alta expands, events will be more focused upon networking for alta members and the building of a community of mutual support, organised around a talk by a key female industry role model. The first event is planned for 13th May, 2019, at the Royal Aeronautical Society, where each founding partner will talk about why and how they got involved in alta. A networking event and a talk by a high profile woman from the industry will also be included in the event.

The academic team is currently working on two papers for academic journals, one of which will be submitted by the end of March, 2019. One paper focuses upon the role of the founding partners and how they worked closely with women in the industry to design and launch alta; the other focuses upon the action research nature of alta and how this has led to impact outside of academia, enabling academics and industry to work together to co-design the mentoring scheme.

Due to the focus being upon the transition of alta to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the associated collaboration agreement and business plan, we have not had an opportunity to further survey alta members. However, during Spring, 2018, an impact case study (funded by the University of the West of England) will begin. This will involve interviews with a small number of alta mentors and mentees and the writing of testimonials from the project partners.The research underpinning this project enabled us to gain a deep understanding of the challenges faced by women in the aviation and aerospace industry and how some of these challenges may be addressed through mentoring, through the alta mentoring scheme in particular. Despite their proven abilities, negative views remain about women in male dominated industries and organisations, which is evidenced through our research. We were in contact with circa 250 women across the industry who identified a number of challenges in this male dominated industry. These challenges included the perception by others that engineering is a 'masculine' profession and therefore not suitable for women; engineering not being sufficiently promoted by schools and careers advisers; the lack of fit between being a mother and pursuing a career as an engineer; a lack of mentors for career and social support; and the strong desire for female professionals in this industry to be mentored by another woman.

From the research, we learned that the majority of research participants had very little previous or current experience of being mentored. Informal mentoring was much more common but this tended to be ad hoc, more available to senior women and not sufficient for structured career mentoring. Overall, mentoring was identified as important but not necessarily available to most respondents. While respondents were very aware of the benefits of mentoring, most were not being mentored. Mentoring was seen as especially valuable to women because it could help with issues that specifically impact women, such as maternity leave and return to work, work-life balance and childcare issues, opportunities to network with other women in the industry and gaining general support. Many had not had the opportunity to mentor others and indicated they wished to become mentors through the alta scheme. Many were interested in finding a mentor within the wider industry and many expressed a preference for those mentors to be female.

Through this research, we learned that female professionals and employers in the industry could see the benefits to be gained from the mentoring scheme. They felt that there was a lack of female mentors within the industry and that alta could help to address this. Many especially welcomed the 'woman to woman' aspect of alta. Following on from this, respondents also felt there was a definite need for alta for a number of reasons: it would offer mentors for women at all levels of the industry; help women to gain an outside perspective on the industry; seek development opportunities; and help to connect with and share experiences with other women. Importantly, employers were positive about alta, for a number of reasons, including: enabling women to seek guidance and learn from other women; gaining a mentor outside of the immediate working environment; helping to address women's issues and boosting women's confidence; facilitating access to female role models; empowering women through mutual support; and helping to grow the female talent pool. Employers also felt that alta would send a strong message to schools that the industry is doing something about its shortage of females.

alta's women centred approach is based on the concept of empowerment, its aim being to raise women's levels of confidence and self-esteem. By enabling female professionals to share experiences, alta seeks to break down isolation and enable women to actively develop networks, something that research indicates they often struggle with when compared to men. By creating a community of female mentors and mentees, alta provides female professionals with unique opportunities to connect with other women in a community, based on common experiences.

Leading and participating in this research project has enabled the UWE team to work collaboratively with individuals and their organisations outside of the University sector and to engage with 'real life' issues experienced by women in public and private sector organisations, through knowledge exchange. This has been an extremely positive experience and has enabled us to build strong and lasting relationships with these partners. While we are currently the alta Project Group, once the RAeS has taken alta in-house, this project group will become the official alta Advisory Committee and we will continue to work with the RAeS to ensure the success and sustainability of alta. This will entail quarterly meetings at the RAeS in London, to monitor progress and discuss future plans and events.
Exploitation Route The findings have been widely disseminated (see section on engagement activities) and taken forward into the design of alta, the on-line mentor and mentee training and the alta handbook. The alta Project Group continues to draw upon the findings and have utilised these to update the alta platform and delivering presentations/engagement activities on the progress and future of alta. More recently, the Project Group members have utilised the findings from the survey of alta members (summer, 2016) to consider the success of alta so far, which improvements to alta are desired for our members, how we can gradually improve upon what we offer (i.e. through enhanced technology) and how we can make alta sustainable in the future. All three non-academic partners have publicised and reported on the research project, for example, via organisation-wide publications and websites and promotion events delivered by themselves and the academic team. All partners will hold 'soft launches' once the terms of reference are agreed with the RAeS and alta opens out to the wider industry. The project partners will continue to disseminate the research findings through word of mouth, publications and websites, especially as more organisations are invited into the mentoring scheme. Further dissemination events are already planned for 2017, including the RAeS Women's Conference, alta networking events and 'soft launches' at the partner organisations. All three non-academic partners have already demonstrated how they have taken the findings forward and how this has influenced policy, practice and diversity strategies. Findings can also be taken forward into other male dominated industries where women face similar challenges and are already being utilised by the Principal and Co-investigators into a related project on women in a number of male dominated industries. This will enable us to build stronger links with alta. Finally, the academic team has written up research findings for academic publications, including a published chapter in an international edited collection on, gender and the professions (2017), and an article has been submitted to the journal, Gender, Work and organization (March, 2018). We have also presented on the alta mentoring scheme at the European Sociological Conference in Athens, Greece (August, 2017) and will present further findings at the Gender, Work and Organisation conference in Sydney, Australia (June, 2018) and the British Academy of Management Conference (Bristol) in September, 2018.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description We have spent the last twelve months (since last reporting to the ESRC in March, 2018) transitioning the running of alta to the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).This has entailed the drawing up and signing (by all founding members) of a new Collaboration Agreement, based upon a business case prepared by the RAeS, preparing alta for its industry launch, which has entailed a transition to a new technology provider for the alta mentoring scheme, and testing of the new site. Alongside this, the PI has been working on an impact case study of alta, with the support (administrative and funding) of the University of the West of England. So far, an updated testimonial has been received from the RAeS Chair of the Women's Committee, with a further testimonial currently being prepared by the Airbus partner. These testimonials are based upon the pilot phase of alta and demonstrate the benefits and impact of alta, to the respective organisations and their female employees. For example, the Chair of the RAeS Women's Committee demonstrates how the alta project exposed the issue of gender diversity at the RAeS's highest levels and provided the RAeS with an opportunity to act upon this. The RAeS also supported alta's brand and gave it credibility throughout the industry. In return, alta helped to raise the profile of the women's committee which enabled it to go on to create further events around gender diversity issues. Further testimonials will be gathered one year post-industry launch of alta (March, 2020) to further measure impact. An interview has also been conducted with an alta mentor, which again, clearly demonstrates the benefits/impact of alta. For example, the interviewee talked about the benefits of undertaking the alta mentor training and how being an alta mentor has enabled her to gain access to other parts of her industry and to get to know the industry better. She discussed how this has helped her to stay 'current', to identify new challenges in the industry and to see how the younger generation of women in the industry think about those challenges. It also enabled the interviewee to draw upon her core experiences of the industry and enforced her belief in the importance of mentoring. She also talked about alta enabling her to keep close to the industry, to network with other women and to keep in touch with younger women coming through the industry. The help she provided for her mentee included, confidence building and helping her to think more strategically about her career. The alta Steering Committee (alta project group) is planning events throughout 2019/20 to make industry employers and employees more aware of alta and the opportunities and benefits it can offer. As alta expands, events will be more focused upon networking for alta members and the building of a community of mutual support, organised around a talk by a key female industry role model. The first event is planned for 13th May, 2019, at the Royal Aeronautical Society, where each founding partner will talk about why and how they got involved in alta. A networking event and a talk by a high profile woman from the industry will also be included in the event. The academic team is currently working on two papers for academic journals, one of which will be submitted by the end of March, 2019. One paper focuses upon the role of the founding partners and how they worked closely with women in the industry to design and launch alta; the other focuses upon the action research nature of alta and how this has led to impact outside of academia, enabling academics and industry to work together to co-design the mentoring scheme. In our March, 2017 submission, we reported that alta had reached a crossroads where there were two available future options: (1) the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) take responsibility for running and funding alta, with the founding members becoming members of the alta Steering Committee; and (2) financial backing from a commercial investor. We have pursued option (1) having spent the past year regularly meeting (as the alta project group) to develop a new collaboration agreement between the RAeS, UWE, Airbus, the Royal Air Force and Little Blue Jets (the partners going forward) to agree the RAeS business plan to support alta financially and review the alta platform content (e.g. the mentor/mentee matching questions). We have held a total of twenty meetings during this period and are now ready for all partners to sign the collaboration agreement and agree the associated business plan. The RAeS, through donations, will pay a new provider (PLD) £5,000 to transition over to its mentoring software and will also pay PLD a yearly licence fee. Further financial support will be gained through sponsorship from industry employers who join alta, at a cost of £750.00 per annum. The plan is to sign up ten organisations in the first year, twenty in the second, etc. Women working in small engineering companies (where the company does not wish to join) can join as individuals and this will be supported through the payments from the larger corporates. The alta mentoring scheme will transition to PLD over the next three months and will then be launched to the industry at the Amy Johnson Lecture at the RAeS at the end of June, 2018. This is an important and well-attended yearly event for the industry, where a large number of organisations will be present. The RAeS will also recruit members through marketing and mail-outs to the industry. The alta steering committee will meet each quarter and will work with the RAeS to ensure alta is appropriately supported, funded and developed and that its members are kept informed and up-to-date. In our March 2017 submission, we reported that Economic and societal impact continues through the alta mentoring scheme in a number of ways. We have seen a growth in the number of members since the last report in February, 2016 (currently 150, with 44 mentee/mentor matches). The scheme continues to operate amongst and to be supported by, the founding members and will be launched to the wider industry during 2017. Restricting the scheme to the founding partners during the first year has enabled the project team (hereafter referred to as the alta project team) to fully validate alta's design, operation and impact. For example, we have discussed ways of updating the technology platform (and how to fund this), have already revised the mentor/mentee matching questions and re-launched these for new matches (and for those not already matched to go back through the matching process) and ensuring the future sustainability of alta. We have also surveyed alta members (August, 2016) to ascertain their views and experiences on the mentoring scheme so far, including the matching process and what members would like to see from alta in the future. Feedback from the survey (as well as qualitative, face-to-face feedback from events) has been positive. The alta team continues to meet on a regular basis to take alta phase 2 forward (its launch to the wider industry). Nine project group meetings were held during the 2016 period, where we have reviewed past and planned future alta events, discussed how we will open up alta to the wider industry (and how this will be funded) reviewed and made changes to the mentor/mentee matching questions and updates (and associated costs) to the alta technology platform. Members of the alta team continue to communicate with their internal alta members and report back to the team with feedback and suggestions. The PI, Co-I and members of the alta team have attended a series of events to promote alta (see section on 'engagement activities'). Twenty alta project group meetings have been held during 2017 (see above). The partner organisations, key beneficiaries of the project's impact, launched a second phase of advertising of the scheme in 2016 as they wished to promote a gradual, phased, sign-up to the scheme. They have embedded alta into their development programmes and offer alta as a mentoring scheme for women only, alongside their more generic, existing mentoring schemes. The founding partners recognised the need for a women-only mentoring scheme and have responded positively to alta because it offers an enhanced understanding of the needs of their female professionals and the opportunity to offer personal career development through the mentoring scheme, at little financial cost to themselves. Emerging impact can also be identified at individual level. Indeed, the alta mentors and mentees, benefit directly from the project as the alta scheme supports and contributes to their career progression. Mentees continue to benefit directly with practical advice and help in addressing career barriers and challenges. Mentors also continue to benefit by developing their mentoring skills, both through the training provided by the scheme and through the practice of mentoring other professional women within the framework and with the support of the alta scheme. The research will impact more widely once it is open up to the wider industry (2018) through the setting-up of knowledge sharing and participation in reciprocal mentoring arrangements and the long-term potential of extending the scheme to others in the industry. Evidence of alta's impact was made clear by the General Manager and Human Resource Director at Airbus, when recently presenting at the Distinguished Address at the University of the West of England, Bristol. One of the key achievements in supporting employees cited by the speaker was the alta mentoring scheme. Moreover, impact is also starting to emerge at industry level. As a significant number of dissemination activities have been developed (see Engagement Activities section), the scheme, as well as its main findings, are becoming well known in the industry, especially among the RAeS corporate members. These organisations have benefited from the knowledge exchange and have gained a better understanding of the needs of their female professional employees and the benefits of mentoring. There are a number of future events planned throughout 2018, including 'soft launches' of alta to the industry and networking events at the Royal Air Force, the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Airbus.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Airbus testimonial on influence on policy/practice
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Airbus partner has provided evidence on the impact of the project/mentoring scheme to date, through the following testimonial: The research work conducted by the UWE team strengthened the promotion of diversity topics within Airbus by providing significant fact based information and in depth analysis of the various cases encountered in the interviews and focus groups that took place in the company. Some of the women interviewed expressed strong interest in a female based mentoring scheme as a way to obtain a mentor more easily within the organisation, especially a more senior female mentor, and also as a means to be able to find a mentor who might be able to provide more suitable advice as she may have experienced similar situations. The project has allowed the creation of a community more aware of the diversity and inclusion topics and raised the profile in avery positive ways as tangible actions have been the outcome of the project. On top of the launch of the scheme itself, various other awareness sessions open to all employees were set up, where both mentoring and diversity topics were presented and openly discussed, giving opportunity to all present to raise their concerns and relay their experiences. In relation to the project, information about mentoring and diversity was widely distributed within the company via the women's network newsletter, the company news magazine, the HR internal monthly update and various online based tools (Airbus TV, Connect @ Airbus, Airbus People Portal, etc). This helped to change the perception of what women and men need to do in order to develop a more inclusive working environment: alta provides a development platform for women, that Airbus believes can only be achieved also with the support, understanding and inclusion of men. alta provides a key complement to the already existing mentoring practices within the company, providing further opportunities for women to become both mentors and mentees. It was also key to help increase women's personal profile and provide confidence to women to become the mentors of the future generations. Thanks to the strong collaboration with the RAeS, this effect was also applied to the wider industry through the Society's access to their corporate partnership base, providing a platform for cross fertilisation between aerospace companies. This activity was also conducted as part of the UK Government National Initiative for the aerospace sector development called the Aerospace Technology Institute, with specific regards to the pillar on skills development for the UK in the aerospace sector. The UK Government Aerospace Growth Strategy clearly indicates the need to develop a skilled workforce as a key enabler for success in the industry for the UK. Several events, awareness sessions and face to face training courses were organised and delivered by the research team. This had the positive effect of enhancing the current practices not only through the scheme itself but also by generating awareness on the diversity topics, a lot of other activities and initiatives were promoted. In particular, further networking opportunities have been created, "Career go live" type of events to promote career development and a general emphasis of mentoring type of activities, whether formal or informal. A strong effect was also obtained in promoting mentoring in general, the benefits of mentoring for both mentors and mentees and encouraging people to be more personally aware of the need to be proactive about their own development. To this purpose a feature article on mentoring was published on the company wide magazine, Airbus ONE. The article featured information about the benefits of mentoring itself for all employees and for both mentors and mentees which was aimed at raising the use of mentoring as a development tool for all. On top of other mentoring schemes available within the company, the article specifically mentioned the alta scheme as a further tool available for women within the company. Details of the project were presented by the company representative on the alta team. Moreover, thanks to the high profile of the project, senior management was successfully engaged to support and endorse mentoring as a development opportunity and often offered their own experience as examples. This provided some useful role models for the audience that would not have been available otherwise. The eLearning platform (on-line training) which has been created as a spin-off of the project, has been recognised at a company level as key for the sustainability of the scheme, but also more broadly, as in line with the encouragement of more e-based learning and for more people to take advantage of this development opportunity. alta has contributed to human resources and/or equality and diversity policy and practice in a number of ways. The results of the research enabled us to prioritise certain key actions to break down barriers and support women more effectively within the organisation at all levels of their career development. Firstly, one of the key successes was the decision from senior management to endorse the alta scheme and support it in the business. Secondly, the decision to link this platform and this development opportunity to Industry wide standards, for example linked to the WISE 10 steps. It also enabled Airbus to separate between quick actions and longer term changes to be implemented through the increased feedback received from the participants to the various project meetings and awareness sessions. It also confirmed with evidence based information, some of the already identified issues and barriers and provided more strength and support in promoting change. The initial response to the launch of the scheme has been very positive with many of the Airbus women involved in the research/development phase signing up to the scheme. The project has also allowed for a significant widening of the networking opportunities both within and outside of the company (for example, the two launch events organised by RAeS in London were well attended by Airbus women) and there are further events planned for this year to continue to promote the alta mentoring platform, for example at International Womens Day on March 8th, 2016. There is also a plan to ensure that the wider Airbus community benefits from the scheme, both at UK level between the various Airbus divisions and internationally within the other European sites. The alta scheme has also had great influence in allowing us to promote mentoring as a development opportunity not only for mentees but also for mentors, allowing for more women to gain more confidence to become mentors and also allowing all levels of career and professional levels within the company to make use of this tool. One final point which should be stressed is that some considerable learning and collaborative effort was especially undertaken by the company representatives and the extended project team that worked very successfully together throughout the duration of the project.
 
Description Design and delivery of face-to-face and on-line training to female professionals and employers in the industry
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Bespoke mentor/mentee training (both face-to-face and on-line via the alta mentoring platform) was designed and delivered by the UWE team, designed with industry partner input. A total of three face-to-face training sessions were delivered with a combination of women seeking to join alta as mentors or mentees. The training covered the rationale for the mentoring scheme, the research findings and mentor training, using a combination of theory and practice, the latter involving role play and mentor/mentee rehearsals. Gender stereotyping in the workplace and the importance of mentoring for women in male dominated organisations/industries was also covered. Written feedback from the training sessions indicates that participants found the training to be 'good' or 'excellent', that the mentoring rehearsals and learning styles sessions had been particularly helpful and that key learning about how to be a good mentor/mentee and how to approach formal, structured mentoring had been useful. We also had the opportunity to discuss and address any perceived barriers to mentoring identified by participants, such as gaining line manager approval to participate in alta, how to deal with 'tricky' situations in mentoring meetings, knowing how to approach mentoring for the first time and making time out of a busy working day for mentoring. Subsequent mentor/mentee training will be delivered on-line, via the alta mentoring platform. This training has been developed from the face-to-face training and all alta mentors and mentees are required to complete the on-line training before they can join alta. All partners believe that this training is fundamental to the design and delivery of the alta mentoring platform, especially the on-line training, given the UWE team were limited (financially) to delivering just one or two face-to-face training sessions per partner. On-line training will help to ensure the quality of the alta mentoring and that mentors and mentees are fully aware of the expectations of the alta mentoring scheme. The conversion rate between those who attended the face-to-face training sessions and joining the mentoring scheme is very high.
 
Description Interest in alta from the Aerospace Growth Partnership
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), which is part of an initiative by the Government and industry to address the skills gap in in the aerospace industry, has become aware of and is interested in supporting alta. One of its key members has been a supporter of alta from the beginning and took part in one of the focus groups that was run as part of the underpinning research for the design of alta. The General Manager at Airbus is also involved in the AGP initiative and has indicated that there is support for alta. Links with the AGP are also established within the RAeS and they are currently in discussions about how they can best support alta (financially) and ensure its sustainability. One of key drivers for the AGP is that it can have an impact on its key drivers to address the skills gap and issues of diversity in the industry.
 
Description Royal Aeronautical Society testimonial on influence on policy/practice
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Royal Aeronautical Society partner has provided evidence on the impact of the project/mentoring scheme to date, through the following testimonial: The research project and the development of the alta mentoring programme offered women in the Aviation and Aerospace industry the opportunity to express some of the frustrations, limitations and challenges experienced by them in the industry while building their careers. It was interesting for the society to see the lack of progress that the industry has made and gave an opportunity to revise the approach to supporting women and aviation businesses in their thinking around gender diversity. The RAeS is very focused on its role as 'thought leader' in this area and want to support aviation businesses to create new tools and to develop strategies to solve issues. The industry will see a shortage of people over the next 10 years unless we can attract more women, particularly in technical engineering, flight operations and aircraft development roles. The alta programme will be embedded into the strategy for supporting women in the industry and for increasing gender diversity, particularly at higher management levels in aircraft manufacturing organisations and airlines. Over the next three years we expect the impact to increase as the mentoring scheme is rolled out to more companies in the UK. alta will be marketed through networking events, media campaigns and on-line campaigns throughout the RAeS. The aim is to highlight the cross company industry programme to women across the industry, reaching as many women as possible and supporting the development of women, changing the thinking of our industry businesses and making a positive change in the gender diversity of the industry.
 
Description The Royal Air Force testimonial on influence on policy/practice
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Royal Air Force partner has provided evidence on the impact of the project/mentoring scheme to date, through the following testimonial: The research findings, delivered to HQ Air Personnel, offered immediate feedback and provided a number of 'quick wins' which were delivered in 2014/15. These included raising awareness to all about the challenges facing the RAF female pipeline, the inclusion of women in development decisions and the empowerment of women in the RAF to seek development opportunities. As a direct result of these research findings, the RAF opened the alta mentoring scheme to all serving females rather than limiting this to senior managers, as originally intended. This vital development will also support reverse mentoring, now accepted as a strategic priority across the broader under-represented communities in the RAF. Broader research outcomes, representing the views, opinions and experiences from a variety of professional women have shaped the quality mentor training and the alta handbook offers a high level of confidence to aspiring females that the mentoring scheme (alta) has a professional image. Organisational branding (RAF) across the alta platform will also support recognition that the RAF is an employer of choice for females in the future. Development of the software platform is believed to be excellent, there is clear and professional imagery of alta and early engagement with serving females in the RAF has provided positive feedback. This had led to the alta mentoring programme being advertised widely across RAF units; the formation of a social media group dedicated to RAF female development opportunities; and reverse mentoring opportunities being supported.
 
Description alta Project Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact The alta Project Group has formed into an advisory group for the purposes of taking alta forward. This allows each partner to influence and partly determine the future of the alta mentoring scheme in the context of the reasons alta was designed in the first place, i.e. to support professional women in the industry. For example, the alta Project Group is currently meeting regularly with the RAeS to discuss the basis upon which it takes alta in-house, developing a business plan which includes the marketing and funding of alta and ensuring that alta is offered to women who are not RAeS members. The aim of alta is to improve the quality of working life for women in the industry and working in this way enables us to ensure the original aims are met.
 
Description alta on-line mentor/mentee training
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The alta mentoring scheme continues to offer its on-line training to mentors and mentees. It is a requirement that all alta mentors undergo on-line training before they can register as a mentor. This allows us to 'quality control' the mentors who join alta. The training is also now offered to all alta mentees, should they wish to engage with it. This training package has enabled, so far, the training of 150 mentors and mentees, which is a substantial training impact, when coupled with the face-to-face training we delivered with women from the founding partners, as part of the mentoring scheme project. Undergoing training will have a positive impact on alta members and questions on its impact will be included in our planned impact study in the summer, 2017. The founding partner organisations also utilise modules from the training, as part of their own, in-house mentor training programmes.
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description Impact Case Study funding
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of the West of England 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Description Research Impact Case Study
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of the West of England 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Title Focus groups with female professionals and employers in the aviation and aerospace industry 
Description The UWE team held four focus groups with female professionals and employers from across the industry. The purpose of the focus groups was to utilise action research to enable the participants to actively take part in designing the mentoring scheme, around a some key criteria that were set by the research team in advance. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Information gathered during the focus groups enabled us to think more critically about the design of the mentoring scheme and how this may better meet the needs of women in the industry (mentors and mentees). We explored four key areas - the scheme objectives, best practice in the matching of mentors and mentees (i.e. key questions we should ask mentors and mentees in order to complete the matching process), practicalities, such as how the scheme should operate (i.e. should there be a set of criteria and structure around how meetings should be conducted), how mentor/mentee meetings should be facilitated by alta, and on-going support for women who choose to participate in the scheme. The women present were therefore offered a unique opportunity to help to design a mentoring scheme that would meet their own needs and to determine what should be included. The information was fed back to the project group and drawn upon substantially to design the mentoring scheme. 
 
Title Interviews with female professionals, employers and representatives from key professional bodies in the industry 
Description The UWE research team conducted approximately thirty interviews with female professionals, employers and key stakeholders in professional bodies. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Through these interviews, the UWE team was able to gather key information from a number of female professionals about their career backgrounds, experiences and benefits gained from mentoring (if any) so far, quality of mentoring received and reasons for not having a mentor. We were also able to explore some key criteria for the proposed mentoring scheme, for example, what women would look for from such a scheme, perceived strengths and weakness of an industry-wide mentoring scheme for women, awareness of any current schemes in their organisations with which we could benchmark, whether they would like to be involved in an industry-wide mentoring scheme for women and how they would perceive this to operate in practice (i.e. face to face, frequency of meetings, the matching process, etc.) Interviews with employers enabled a more general exploration of the industry and women's under-representation therein, the value of the proposed scheme, how this may or may not sit alongside their own organisations' mentoring schemes (if any) and to explore the key objectives for the scheme. Interviews with representatives of key professional bodies (i.e. Women's Engineering Society) were helpful in relation to discussing current challenges facing women, any mentoring schemes they were aware of/involved in and suggestions for our own mentoring scheme. Information from this combination of interviews was fundamental and critical to the design of the alta mentoring scheme, especially in relation to considering how mentors and mentees would make contact/meet, developing the questions that mentors and mentees would need to complete in order to be matched and ensuring we had experienced female mentors from across the industry. 
 
Title Survey of female professionals in the aviation and aerospace industry 
Description A qualtrics survey was distributed to all female members of the Royal Aeronautical Society at the beginning of the research project. The survey explored types of employment/organisation, information about career history and progression, history of mentoring/being mentored and what women would look for from an industry-wide mentoring scheme. The data were analysed and fed back to the industry partners, via a powerpoint presentation. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The survey was intended to help the research team and project partners to determine the level and quality of mentoring that women were receiving (or providing as mentors) throughout the industry. From an initial mail-out to 1700 women, we received 220 responses from women across the industry, operating at different professional and managerial levels. The survey revealed that just one quarter of respondents were currently being mentored and that current or past mentors had been predominantly male within their employer organisations. Most identified a lack of female mentors within the industry. Respondents expressed a preference for mentoring predominantly around career progression with an element of social support. Half the respondents put themselves forward as potential mentors under the proposed alta mentoring scheme and also volunteered to take part in follow-up interviews (whilst retaining their anonymity in relation to their survey answers). The findings from the survey were utilised by the project group to consider the issues facing women in the industry and how an industry-wide mentoring scheme may help to assist these women. The findings also helped the UWE team to design the focus group and interview questions. 
 
Description Building a mentoring scheme to support women in aviation and aerospace 
Organisation Airbus Group
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The PI, as one of the founding members of alta, worked alongside and led a team at the University of the West of England (referred to hereafter as the UWE team). The team comprised the PI, a co-investigator, a consultant and a research associate. The UWE team collectively contributed to the project in a number of substantial ways. The PI set the agenda, organised and chaired the project group meetings which were held approximately every six weeks. These meetings were a critical aspect of the project as they facilitated face-to-face collaboration with the project partners on the co-design of the mentoring scheme and were a space to discuss and feed back progress on the research element of the project. The UWE team took overall responsibility for the research, leading the design and implementation of the empirical research instruments (a survey, interviews and focus groups); conducting and leading the research with circa 250 women (professionals and employers) across the industry and analysing, reporting back and drawing upon these findings. The findings were fundamental to the design of the mentoring scheme which was always intended to be, 'for women, by women' in both its design and operation. The design of the technology for the mentoring scheme was led by the Royal Aeronautical Society project partner with support from the UWE team and other project partners, who inputted collectively into its design as the project progressed and as the research findings were further understood. The UWE team also led on research dissemination through promotion events at the partner organisations as well as at a number of events at organisations, within and outside the industry, in order to communicate the research more widely. This included presenting on the research findings at corporate and academic events and conferences. The UWE team led on the design and delivery of the face-to-face and on-line training for mentors and mentees, as well as the design and delivery of an alta handbook, with input from the project partners on draft copies.
Collaborator Contribution The partners (Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Royal Air Force (RAF), and Airbus,) made a substantial contribution to the project. Most partners attended a number of the project meetings and the co-founding partner from the Royal Aeronautical Society attended all meetings. Each partner contributed via a number of means, including, providing important contextual information on their organisations and the industry in general, providing access to the design and operation of any existing mentoring schemes in their organisations for benchmarking purposes, assisting the UWE team with access to women and employers in their organisations and industry to participate in the interviews and focus groups, distributing the survey to female members of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and generally raising awareness and encouraging engagement with employees. Perhaps most importantly, the partners secured 'buy-in' at senior management levels within the participating organisations. The partners contributed to the design of the mentoring scheme platform in a number of ways, some commenting on draft designs and narratives, while the Royal Aeronautical Society partner played a key role in the technical design of the mentoring platform, being the lead player and liaising between the project group and the delivery platform designers and technicians. Partners commented upon drafts of the face-to-face training materials and inputted substantially to the on-line training, including providing several of their female professionals to take part in the short video clips of mentoring rehearsals which are now being used as part of the on-line training. The partners also played a critical role during the launch of the mentoring scheme (alta) in October, 2015, highlighting its importance within the industry and encouraging women to get involved. The partners also inputted by commenting on a number of draft documents produced by the UWE team, including the survey, focus group and interview questions, the face to face and on-line training and the alta handbook. They have each played a key role in advertising/promoting the scheme within their own organisations, the recruitment of mentors from the wider industry and acting as advocates for the alta mentoring scheme.
Impact This collaboration has resulted in the design, delivery and launch of a founding partners (soon to be industry-wide) mentoring scheme for female professionals (alta) which itself is an innovation in the aviation and aerospace industry, launched in November, 2015, at the Royal Aeronautical Society's women's conference in London (http://alta-mentoring.com). The decision to restrict the scheme during its first year to the founding partners only, was in order to fully validate its design, operation and impact. To date, over ninety two women have joined and a second round of advertising and recruitment of mentors and mentees will take place during March, 2016, through promotion of the scheme at the Airbus International Women's Days on 8th and 11th March; and two alta networking events to be held in March and June, 2016 (to be held at UWE, Bristol and the Royal Aeronautical Society, London). From Autumn, 2016, the scheme will be opened up to the wider industry and we have already secured firm interest from a leading international bluechip company together with an international trading association, based in the USA. The focus for the UWE team during this first year of operation will be to measure the effectiveness of alta with the participant mentors and mentees against a pre-agreed set of target outcomes. A related output has been the design and delivery of bespoke face-to-face and on-line training, as a means to provide women across the sector with greater access to mentoring and career support at a lower per capita cost. This has been underpinned by rigorous face-to-face training which was designed and delivered by the UWE team to prepare both mentors and mentees for this innovative on-line programme (co-designed with the founding partners).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Building a mentoring scheme to support women in aviation and aerospace 
Organisation Royal Air Force Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The PI, as one of the founding members of alta, worked alongside and led a team at the University of the West of England (referred to hereafter as the UWE team). The team comprised the PI, a co-investigator, a consultant and a research associate. The UWE team collectively contributed to the project in a number of substantial ways. The PI set the agenda, organised and chaired the project group meetings which were held approximately every six weeks. These meetings were a critical aspect of the project as they facilitated face-to-face collaboration with the project partners on the co-design of the mentoring scheme and were a space to discuss and feed back progress on the research element of the project. The UWE team took overall responsibility for the research, leading the design and implementation of the empirical research instruments (a survey, interviews and focus groups); conducting and leading the research with circa 250 women (professionals and employers) across the industry and analysing, reporting back and drawing upon these findings. The findings were fundamental to the design of the mentoring scheme which was always intended to be, 'for women, by women' in both its design and operation. The design of the technology for the mentoring scheme was led by the Royal Aeronautical Society project partner with support from the UWE team and other project partners, who inputted collectively into its design as the project progressed and as the research findings were further understood. The UWE team also led on research dissemination through promotion events at the partner organisations as well as at a number of events at organisations, within and outside the industry, in order to communicate the research more widely. This included presenting on the research findings at corporate and academic events and conferences. The UWE team led on the design and delivery of the face-to-face and on-line training for mentors and mentees, as well as the design and delivery of an alta handbook, with input from the project partners on draft copies.
Collaborator Contribution The partners (Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Royal Air Force (RAF), and Airbus,) made a substantial contribution to the project. Most partners attended a number of the project meetings and the co-founding partner from the Royal Aeronautical Society attended all meetings. Each partner contributed via a number of means, including, providing important contextual information on their organisations and the industry in general, providing access to the design and operation of any existing mentoring schemes in their organisations for benchmarking purposes, assisting the UWE team with access to women and employers in their organisations and industry to participate in the interviews and focus groups, distributing the survey to female members of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and generally raising awareness and encouraging engagement with employees. Perhaps most importantly, the partners secured 'buy-in' at senior management levels within the participating organisations. The partners contributed to the design of the mentoring scheme platform in a number of ways, some commenting on draft designs and narratives, while the Royal Aeronautical Society partner played a key role in the technical design of the mentoring platform, being the lead player and liaising between the project group and the delivery platform designers and technicians. Partners commented upon drafts of the face-to-face training materials and inputted substantially to the on-line training, including providing several of their female professionals to take part in the short video clips of mentoring rehearsals which are now being used as part of the on-line training. The partners also played a critical role during the launch of the mentoring scheme (alta) in October, 2015, highlighting its importance within the industry and encouraging women to get involved. The partners also inputted by commenting on a number of draft documents produced by the UWE team, including the survey, focus group and interview questions, the face to face and on-line training and the alta handbook. They have each played a key role in advertising/promoting the scheme within their own organisations, the recruitment of mentors from the wider industry and acting as advocates for the alta mentoring scheme.
Impact This collaboration has resulted in the design, delivery and launch of a founding partners (soon to be industry-wide) mentoring scheme for female professionals (alta) which itself is an innovation in the aviation and aerospace industry, launched in November, 2015, at the Royal Aeronautical Society's women's conference in London (http://alta-mentoring.com). The decision to restrict the scheme during its first year to the founding partners only, was in order to fully validate its design, operation and impact. To date, over ninety two women have joined and a second round of advertising and recruitment of mentors and mentees will take place during March, 2016, through promotion of the scheme at the Airbus International Women's Days on 8th and 11th March; and two alta networking events to be held in March and June, 2016 (to be held at UWE, Bristol and the Royal Aeronautical Society, London). From Autumn, 2016, the scheme will be opened up to the wider industry and we have already secured firm interest from a leading international bluechip company together with an international trading association, based in the USA. The focus for the UWE team during this first year of operation will be to measure the effectiveness of alta with the participant mentors and mentees against a pre-agreed set of target outcomes. A related output has been the design and delivery of bespoke face-to-face and on-line training, as a means to provide women across the sector with greater access to mentoring and career support at a lower per capita cost. This has been underpinned by rigorous face-to-face training which was designed and delivered by the UWE team to prepare both mentors and mentees for this innovative on-line programme (co-designed with the founding partners).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Building a mentoring scheme to support women in aviation and aerospace 
Organisation Women in Aviation and Aerospace Committee
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The PI, as one of the founding members of alta, worked alongside and led a team at the University of the West of England (referred to hereafter as the UWE team). The team comprised the PI, a co-investigator, a consultant and a research associate. The UWE team collectively contributed to the project in a number of substantial ways. The PI set the agenda, organised and chaired the project group meetings which were held approximately every six weeks. These meetings were a critical aspect of the project as they facilitated face-to-face collaboration with the project partners on the co-design of the mentoring scheme and were a space to discuss and feed back progress on the research element of the project. The UWE team took overall responsibility for the research, leading the design and implementation of the empirical research instruments (a survey, interviews and focus groups); conducting and leading the research with circa 250 women (professionals and employers) across the industry and analysing, reporting back and drawing upon these findings. The findings were fundamental to the design of the mentoring scheme which was always intended to be, 'for women, by women' in both its design and operation. The design of the technology for the mentoring scheme was led by the Royal Aeronautical Society project partner with support from the UWE team and other project partners, who inputted collectively into its design as the project progressed and as the research findings were further understood. The UWE team also led on research dissemination through promotion events at the partner organisations as well as at a number of events at organisations, within and outside the industry, in order to communicate the research more widely. This included presenting on the research findings at corporate and academic events and conferences. The UWE team led on the design and delivery of the face-to-face and on-line training for mentors and mentees, as well as the design and delivery of an alta handbook, with input from the project partners on draft copies.
Collaborator Contribution The partners (Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Royal Air Force (RAF), and Airbus,) made a substantial contribution to the project. Most partners attended a number of the project meetings and the co-founding partner from the Royal Aeronautical Society attended all meetings. Each partner contributed via a number of means, including, providing important contextual information on their organisations and the industry in general, providing access to the design and operation of any existing mentoring schemes in their organisations for benchmarking purposes, assisting the UWE team with access to women and employers in their organisations and industry to participate in the interviews and focus groups, distributing the survey to female members of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and generally raising awareness and encouraging engagement with employees. Perhaps most importantly, the partners secured 'buy-in' at senior management levels within the participating organisations. The partners contributed to the design of the mentoring scheme platform in a number of ways, some commenting on draft designs and narratives, while the Royal Aeronautical Society partner played a key role in the technical design of the mentoring platform, being the lead player and liaising between the project group and the delivery platform designers and technicians. Partners commented upon drafts of the face-to-face training materials and inputted substantially to the on-line training, including providing several of their female professionals to take part in the short video clips of mentoring rehearsals which are now being used as part of the on-line training. The partners also played a critical role during the launch of the mentoring scheme (alta) in October, 2015, highlighting its importance within the industry and encouraging women to get involved. The partners also inputted by commenting on a number of draft documents produced by the UWE team, including the survey, focus group and interview questions, the face to face and on-line training and the alta handbook. They have each played a key role in advertising/promoting the scheme within their own organisations, the recruitment of mentors from the wider industry and acting as advocates for the alta mentoring scheme.
Impact This collaboration has resulted in the design, delivery and launch of a founding partners (soon to be industry-wide) mentoring scheme for female professionals (alta) which itself is an innovation in the aviation and aerospace industry, launched in November, 2015, at the Royal Aeronautical Society's women's conference in London (http://alta-mentoring.com). The decision to restrict the scheme during its first year to the founding partners only, was in order to fully validate its design, operation and impact. To date, over ninety two women have joined and a second round of advertising and recruitment of mentors and mentees will take place during March, 2016, through promotion of the scheme at the Airbus International Women's Days on 8th and 11th March; and two alta networking events to be held in March and June, 2016 (to be held at UWE, Bristol and the Royal Aeronautical Society, London). From Autumn, 2016, the scheme will be opened up to the wider industry and we have already secured firm interest from a leading international bluechip company together with an international trading association, based in the USA. The focus for the UWE team during this first year of operation will be to measure the effectiveness of alta with the participant mentors and mentees against a pre-agreed set of target outcomes. A related output has been the design and delivery of bespoke face-to-face and on-line training, as a means to provide women across the sector with greater access to mentoring and career support at a lower per capita cost. This has been underpinned by rigorous face-to-face training which was designed and delivered by the UWE team to prepare both mentors and mentees for this innovative on-line programme (co-designed with the founding partners).
Start Year 2015
 
Title alta mentoring platform 
Description The alta mentoring platform, which has been developed by the project team alongside technology designers who were commissioned to design a bespoke website/platform. The platform has a 'public' site where visitors can find out more about alta and the team involved in its development. Those who wish to sign up to alta must enter some information and receive a password from the alta administrator before they can access the platform itself, where the matching of mentors/mentees, the on-line training and communications take place. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact This product enables women in the founding partner organisations to access a mentoring site and join the alta mentoring scheme. To date, 92 women have joined, 53 of whom are mentees and 39 mentors. The software has enabled matching of these mentors/mentees through both parties answering a set of key matching questions in relation to what they are looking for as a mentee/what they can offer as a mentor. The software looks for the closest match for the mentee and will show the most three suitable potential mentors. The mentee can then contact the mentors and being the mentoring process. Just 5 women have not managed to find a match through this process, indicating a high success rate in enabling women to find a suitable mentor who can help with their career development and offer general support. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Title alta on-line training 
Description Bespoke on-line training has been developed from the face-to-face mentor/mentee training. The project group worked with the technology designers to design both module-based and interactive training that is compulsory for all members of alta. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Although not originally part of the project plan, it became apparent to the project group that there was a need to train alta mentors/mentees in mentoring to both 'quality control' mentoring (i.e. ensure alta mentors were fully trained in mentoring) and to ensure mentees understood what was involved in working with a mentor and their obligations as part of this. The project team worked with the design team to produce four core on-line training modules, to film mentoring rehearsals and to set questions at the end of each module to ensure key learning had been met. This will have a notable impact upon both the quality of the alta mentor, who will be fully trained before she begins mentoring, irrespective of her seniority and experience in the industry; and fully prepare mentees for the mentoring experience. The women who attended the face-to-face training offered by the UWE team do not have to repeat the on-line training but we recommend alta members return to the on-line training from time to time to refresh their knowledge and skills. 
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Title alta platform 
Description The decision has been made to switch the alta platform to a different supplier - Perform, Learn and Develop (PLD) suing their online mentoring model. The model uses a licence fee approach, which will be covered by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) which will be incorporated into their annual licence with PLD. Switching to PLD is more cost effective than staying with the current provider, is much more user friendly and enables the RAeS to administer the mentoring platform. Current users included other reputable professional bodies, including he Institution of Civil Engineers, Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The system will be more user-friendly for both alta mentors and mentees (members) and the RAeS team responsible for the administration of alta. Mentor/Mentee matching forms can be completed securely online with no need to update CVs; the alta platform is kept separate from other RAeS platforms; members can manage their meetings online and communicate through the system; automated emails can be sent to members' accounts; the alta training modules can be incorporated into the system and other training tools are available if required. We will also be able to add additional features as the alta scheme/platform develops. The system can be customised to meet alta needs, support user engagement, enable the administrators to track and measure member activity, produce progress reports/targets and other useful tools can be added, where appropriate. 
 
Description Amy Johnson Debate, Farnborough Air Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Amy Johnson lecture was held at the Farnborough Airshow. The event was organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society's Women's Committee (WAAC). A panel of male and female speakers from the media, politics, corporate organisations and the public sector debated the issue of a lack of diversity in the aviation and aerospace industry. The key question for the debate was, who are the best change agents for diversity? The debate raised a number of fascinating and thought-provoking issues on how to make the workforce more diverse. The audience, from a wide variety of organisations in the industry, answered questions on what needs to be done to encourage more women into engineering and aerospace; why we need diversity; who can make a difference; and why progress to make the workforce more diverse has been so slow. Following the debate, a networking event enabled us to speak to delegates and members of the alta mentoring scheme. Those who were matched were generally happy with the matching process. We also had the opportunity to talk to alta and WAAC non-members who had seen the flyers for alta and were keen to find out more. We were able to point them towards the alta mentoring on-line platform. This event enabled us to engage with some current alta members and to also encourage non-members to join. It was also a useful exercise in getting some early feedback from alta members on their experiences of alta so far.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description An evening lecture with Captain Marnie Munns, Commercial Pilot, Easyjet, followed by an alta update and networking event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This public lecture, at the Royal Aeronautical Society headquarters in London, was delivered by Captain Marnie Munns, a commercial pilot with Easyjet. The talk focused on what Easyjet is currently doing to change the public perceptions of the role of women in the aviation industry and encouraging more women to become pilots. The talk was attended by approximately sixty men and women from the aviation and aerospace industry, many of whom were female pilots who would be eligible to join alta. Following a stimulating discussion and Q&A session, the talk was followed by an update on the alta mentoring scheme, by Judith Milne, one of the founding members, on behalf of the RAeS women's committee. The update was intended to let members and non-members know how alta is progressing and where alta is going in relation to opening the scheme out to the industry. Several members of alta were present and we were able to gain qualitative feedback on their experiences of being an alta member so far. We also had the opportunity to talk to alta non-members and to hand out further information on alta and how to join.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description Annual Amy Johnson Lecture, Royal Aeronautical Society, London, with alta presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The annual Amy Johnson Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) took place on 28th June, 2018, and was presented by Air Vice Marshal Sue Gray of the RAF. This was followed by a presentation about alta, by Wing commander Sarah Maskell, MBE (one of the alta founding members) with Stella Warren, a member of the UWE research team, in attendance. During the evening, delegates were encouraged to make personal pledges to positively contribute to equality and diversity within their own organisations. The event was attended by a wide variety of RAeS members, including the RAF, MoD, Air Ambulance, UK Space Agency and Airbus). There were several pledges of support for alta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Centre for Employment Studies Research (CESR) board meeting, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation, entitled, 'Building a mentoring scheme to support professional women in aviation and aerospace', to the Board and members of CESR to showcase the work in which CESR members (the UWE team) were involved. Other academics involved in similar research were present and able to discuss, critique and ask questions about the mentoring project. Board members, who were drawn from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, were supportive of the mentoring scheme and demonstrated a high level of interest in its progress, especially a Board member from the aviation and aerospace industry; and a representative of a gender equality network in the South West who had previously been employed as a professional engineer/senior manager. The UWE team and one of the project partners (RAeS) have have committed to return to present to CESR in the summer, 2016, to update CESR members on the launch, progress and impact of the mentoring scheme and have also recently submitted an article to the CESR Review reporting on the launch of alta and the research underpinning its design.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Design and testing of new alta mentoring platform 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The alta project group has been involved in the design and extensive testing of the new alta on-line mentoring platform. This has entailed the re-design of the matching questions, the alta mentoring handbook, background information on alta, the research project underpinning the project and other significant information about alta. Once members sign up to alta, they can gain access to the full platform, where they can proceed with completing the matching questions in engage with alt and the administrators in a number of ways. The new platform also enables us to communicate with members, including sending out surveys to measure benefits and impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://alta.onpld.com/
 
Description Event to promote the mentoring scheme (alta) at Airbus, Bristol, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A promotion event for the alta mentoring scheme, presented by the UWE team, to female professionals at Airbus, Bristol. The mentoring scheme was one month away from launch and the aim of the promotion event was to raise further awareness and encourage women to sign up to the scheme once launched at the end of October. 2016. The presentation covered why mentoring was important for women, benefits of mentoring for mentors, mentees and organisations, further information about the project, research findings, planned training events for mentors and how to sign up to the scheme. The UWE team distributed feedback forms after the event. Overall, the majority of attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the session had enabled them to better understand the mentoring scheme and how they could register; and that the session had encouraged them to join the mentoring scheme. The majority of attendees also commented that the workshop had been very beneficial and interesting. Reasons identified by attendees for wanting to join alta, included: to be able to expand their networks; to support other women; to make women's presence in STEM the norm; for career support; having a mentor they could talk to who is not a line manager; being mentored by a more senior woman; to benefit from others' experience; to inspire others; and to gain further personal development. All attendees indicated that they would join alta, either as a mentor, a mentee, or both and signed up for the face-to-face training sessions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Farnborough Airshow 2019 launch of Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, including a presentation about the alta mentoring scheme and its impending launch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Farnborough Airshow is an important, annual event for the aviation and aerospace industry. In July, 2018, the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter was launched, with the aim to enable companies to make a commitment towards gender equality in the industry. This includes the setting of targets for businesses to work towards. At the time of the launch, more than 40 organisations in the industry had committed to signing the charter, including Airbus, Boeing, Easyjet and Rolls Royce. The Charter is supported by the Aerospace Growth Partnership, Civil Aviation Authority, International Aviation Women's Associaion, Royal Aeronautical Society and Women in Aerospace, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Transport. During the session for the launch of the Charter, Sarah Minnett, the Chair of the RAeS Women's Committee and a senior member of Rockwell Collins, gave a presentation about alta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Feedback on research findings to the mentoring project partners, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of research findings by the UWE team to the mentoring project partners from Airbus, the RAF and the Royal Aeronautical Society. The findings from the focus groups and interviews with female professionals, employers and representatives from other professional bodies, were fed back to the group. The research findings were intended to form the key underpinning foundation to the design of the mentoring scheme (alta) and it was agreed that in light of these findings, we were able to proceed with the design and launch of the mentoring scheme based largely upon what female professionals and employers told us they would look for from the scheme and what they felt would work in practice. For example, the 'woman to woman' aspect of the scheme was welcomed by the majority of research participants which confirmed to the project group that having a scheme for women only was both feasible and practical. Findings from the research also indicated that while women would welcome a mentoring scheme which enabled them to be mentored via social media, they also felt that the first one or two meetings should be face to face. Being matched with the 'right' mentor was also identified in the research as being of overriding importance to the women and this helped us to focus on designing the mentor/mentee matching questions. The industry partners commented on how the findings had helped them to further understand the needs of women in their industries. For example, the RAF partner commented that the findings had helped her organisation to raise awareness of challenges women face in the 'pipeline', that they intended to include women in development decisions in the future and that they would do more to empower women to seek development opportunities, especially through alta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Impact case study of alta 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The PI for this project has been working on an impact case study (for REF purposes and for use by the alta project group) over the past two years. This has entailed an update of the progress of alta, from the pilot phase through to the industry launch. Updated testimonials are being gathered from the founding partners (based on the pilot phase) one having already been completed. Testimonials, post-industry launch will be gathered towards the end of 2018, to give alta time to embed within the industry. An interview has also been conducted with an alta mentor and arrangements are being made to survey and interview alta members on benefits of membership and impact, towards the end of 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Invited speaker at the Airbus, Bristol, International Women's day conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Members of the UWE team were invited to speak at the Airbus International Women's Day conference on the theme of, 'the benefits of diversity', presenting on 'celebrating women in the workplace: achievements and challenges'. The presentation examined women's role in the labour market and their participation in STEM professions and management positions. The presentation was also utilised to disseminate information about the mentoring scheme project. There was a great deal of interest in the presentation, which stimulated discussions and questions, as well as in the mentoring scheme project. Several of the women present went on to become part of the mentoring scheme research project, taking part in the survey, interviews and focus groups and later attending promotion events about the mentoring scheme and training sessions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description KPMG Champions for Change event on enabling innovation and transformation through diversity and inclusion 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The alta team was invited to this event at KPMG London offices, to showcase the alta mentoring scheme. KPMG were aware of alta as the Principal Investigator had previously been invited to attend an event organised by their Women in Defence, Aerospace and Intelligence Network in Bristol, to speak about alta and mentoring more generally. We were provided with a stall on a 'street fair' basis, where delegates at the event were invited along. There was also a keynote speaker during the street fair. Other exhibitors included WISE, Women Returners and KPMGs Its Her Future. Delegates were from a variety of public, private and not-for-profit oranistaions. The alta stall included a large pop-up banner, postcards/flyers to take away and an interactive display of alta on a laptop. We were approached by a number of delegates who were interested in alta and we also noted at least a dozen email addresses for those who were interested in alta's future development and/or joining alta when it launches to the industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description KPMG Women in Aerospace, Defence and Intelligence Mentoring and Sponsorship Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The PI was invited to talk to the KPMG Women in Aerospace Defence Intelligence Mentoring and Sponsorship Forum, about the alta mentoring scheme - the idea behind it, how it was designed and delivered and what it aims to achieve. She also took part in a panel debate with senior female industry figures, to answer questions on mentoring and sponsorship. There were a number of questions from the audience about alta and the organisers confirmed, after the event, that they had received positive feedback from a number of attendees who had requested the alta web-link so that they could find out more about the scheme. The PI remains a member of this KPMG group, which will enable her to continue to disseminate information about alta and to encourage new members once the scheme opens up to the industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Meeting at Deloitte, Bristol 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The PI was invited to the Deloitte Offices, Bristol, to meet with two senior managers to discuss the mentoring scheme project and their plans for a women's leadership development programme and network for clients and advisers in their networks. The programme target group was women only (as with the alta mentoring scheme) and the potential opposition and defence of this was discussed. This had been an issue at times for the mentoring scheme project and the rationale that had been used by the UWE team for having women-only schemes, programmes and spaces was discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Mentoring scheme launch event, Royal Aeronautical Society, London, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Launch of the alta mentoring scheme at the Women in Aviation and Aerospace annual conference, Royal Aeronautical Society, London. Half of the conference (half a day) was devoted to the launch of alta. All project partners presented on why and how they had become involved in the mentoring project/scheme and encouraged women across the industry to get involved, especially women from their own organisations. The UWE team also presented on the importance of building a critical mass of women to support one another in the industry and on the research findings from the project. The number of questions and level of engagement with the presentation were high and many women indicated that they would like to sign up to the mentoring scheme. The scheme is presently open to founding members only, from which ninety two women have signed up as mentors or mentees, many of whom were present at this event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at Trades Union Congress Conference, Weston-Super-Mare, UK, entitled, 'It's not Rocket Science: women into STEM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Principal Investigator was invited to present to the audience of mainly trade union activists and women working in STEM, on, 'reflections on men's and women's careers in engineering: a case study'. The organising Chair was aware of the PI's involvement in the mentoring project and that she has been working with engineers on other research projects. The presentation stimulated questions and discussions about why women struggle to get into and stay in STEM professions, especially engineering. This enabled the PI to discuss the mentoring project with the audience and the ways in which this could help with the recruitment and retention of women into engineering professions, specifically in the aviation and aerospace industry where women are least likely to be found in engineering compared to other engineering destinations (i.e. mechanical and civil engineering). The PI was approached by the MEP for the South West, who was a presenter herself, to find out more about the mentoring scheme and her work with female engineers. They have subsequently met and discussed future research collaboration on women in engineering in Europe; and to discuss the mentoring scheme (alta). There was also an open discussion at the conference about how parents as well as employers should play an active role in encouraging more girls to enter STEM professions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation at Trades Union Congress Conference, Weston-Super-Mare, UK, entitled, 'It's not Rocket Science: women into STEM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Co-investigator and Principal Investigator were invited to present to the audience of mainly trade union activists and women working in STEM, on, 'Speaking Out and Supporting Women'. The organising Chair was aware of the Co/PI's involvement in the mentoring project and that they had been working with engineers on other research projects. The presentation stimulated questions and discussion around what can be done to better support women in male dominated jobs, such as engineering, and questions about how some of the female audience could get involved in the mentoring scheme. The PI was approached by the MEP for the South West, who was a presenter herself, to find out more about the mentoring scheme and her work with female engineers. They have subsequently met and discussed future research collaboration on women in engineering in Europe; and to discuss how the mentoring scheme (alta) could be rolled out assist young women at school/university who are considering a career in STEM and would like a mentor to help them with this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to Project You, a network to support women into leadership, Bristol, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Principal and Co-investigator were invited to present findings from the mentoring research project to Project You (entitled, 'Mentoring: does it matter'?). Project You is a collaborative network of private and public sector organisations in Bristol which aims to help professional women based in Bristol to develop and exceed in their careers. The network meets regularly to discuss topics related to women in leadership, often with keynote speakers/presenters. Co-presenters included a representative of one of the organisations involved responsible for an internal mentoring programme. We set some key questions for the audience, including what they perceived to be the strengths and weaknesses of a mentoring scheme for women/by women within a single industry. The feedback assisted us in the design of the scheme and to generally justify its 'women only' focus. We were asked to keep the group updated on the progress of the scheme and plan to return and present to the group now that the mentoring scheme has been launched. A key impact from this event was to stimulate discussion and interest in alta and mentoring in general among professional women within the business community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to Unite the Union South West Regional Aerospace and Shipbuilding Industrial Sector Committee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A number of Unite the Union representatives from different organisations in the South West of England attended a talk by the co-investigator on Unite and its committee structures. This followed research undertaken by the Co-I and PI on women members of Unite the Union in the South West and their experiences at work. Part of the talk included a presentation on the alta mentoring scheme and how it had been set up to support women who were under-represented in a male dominated industry. A number of delegates asked questions on the day and as a direct result of this talk, some of the female representatives present gave the Equalities Officer the names and contacts of female union members who may be interesting in engaging in training with a view to becoming Unite representatives. It was acknowledged that the under-representation of women in the committee was a problem that should be addressed and that schemes, such as alta, could help in this regard, especially as alta has been set up as a mentoring service but also as a community network of women who can support one another.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation to the Airbus women's network 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Principal and Co-investigators from the UWE team were invited to present to the Airbus, Bristol, women's network on the theme, 'Industry-wide mentoring: for women, by women'. This offered the opportunity to relay key information to members of the women's network about the mentoring project and why it was being designed for women only. While some members of the audience stated they had been sceptical about the mentoring scheme being for women only, due to excluding males as potential mentors, there was general support for this once the rationale behind the women-only focus this had been explained. The presentation stimulated questions and discussions with female professionals, a trade union representative and an HR business partner. There was enthusiastic support for the mentoring scheme and many women present went on to volunteer to take part in the focus groups and interviews related to the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to the Women in Titanium Committee, European Titanium Society Conference, Birmingham, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Chair of the Women in Titanium Committee, International Titanium Association, USA, invited the Principal and Co-investigators to speak at their conference at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK. She had become aware of the mentoring scheme project through an Airbus employee and as an organisation that is one of the biggest suppliers to the aviation and aerospace industry, wished to know more and get involved in the mentoring scheme. The presentation, entitled, 'designing a mentoring scheme for professional women' was attended by women members of the committee and wider network. We also had the opportunity to meet with the Chair and members of the Women in Titanium Committee, before the presentation, where we discussed the potential for the committee/network to get involved in the mentoring scheme, once it was launched. This meeting and the subsequent presentation has enabled us to engage with Women in Titanium and discuss their potential involvement in the mentoring scheme (getting women in their industry involved as mentors and mentees) once the mentoring scheme opens up to the wider industry in the Autumn, 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to the Women in Titanium Committee, International Titanium Association, Orlando, Florida (via Webex) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A follow-up presentation to the Women in Titanium one-day conference, Orlando, Florida, in October, 2016 (entitled, 'Women mentoring women in masculine professions'). The Principal and Co-investigator were asked to return to present with an update on the mentoring project research findings and the imminent launch of the mentoring scheme at the end of October that year. A question and answer session followed the presentation. In the subsequent Women in Titanium Recap of Broadcast (via email from the Women in Titanium Chair), Women in Titanium identified itself as an industry partner with the University of the West of England where Women in Titanium members will be working with the UWE team to develop mentoring support for professional females within the aviation and aerospace industry in the USA and Europe. There is already a commitment from this group to join alta when it opens up to the wider industry in Autumn, 2016 and the UWE team continue to work with the group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Press Release on the alta mentoring scheme industry launch 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Royal Aeronautical Society and the University of the West of England, released a joint press release on 8th March, 2019 (International Women's Day) to announce the industry launch of alta. So far (two days after the press release) this has been featured in the Bristol Business News.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description Professor Durbin's Inaugural Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The PI delivered her professorial inaugural lecture in November, 2016. The audience included members of the alta team, students, academics and members of organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. As well as delivering a lecture on the PIs research career, this was an opportunity to demonstrate how that research contributed to the alta mentoring scheme project, the design and launch of the alta mentoring scheme and how the alta project group continues to work together to ensure the success and sustainability of alta. This was an opportunity to promote alta to a non-academic audience and for the PI to further engage with academic colleagues about the project. Many in the audience had no prior knowledge of alta and could see the reason why it had been developed to support women in male dominated jobs and industries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Project Group Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A mentoring project group was formed at the beginning of the project, led by the Principal Investigator and comprising all the partners and the UWE team. Meetings took place approximately every six weeks with most partners in attendance. A number of interim meetings also took place between the PI and individual partners. The meetings were a means to discuss the direction and progress of the project, the design and delivery of the academic research, the design of the mentoring scheme platform and the face-to-face and on-line training, mentor recruitment, promotion events and any other matters related to the project. Interim and launch events were also planned during these meetings. The meetings provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange between industry and academics and to plan and implement a mentoring scheme that was built upon collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description Project Group Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The project group, which was originally formed as part of the funded, one year project, has continued to meet as the alta Project Group and is now known as the alta Steering Committee and chaired by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). Meetings are now organised the RAeS and comprise all of the original founding members, as well as the Chair of the Women's Committee at the RAeS. The meetings have been held both face-to-face and also through the use of Webex.The focus of these meetings over the twelve month period has been the strategic direction of alta, marketing and recruitment plans, funding and the wider industry launch. Since the last report was submitted in March, 2018, twelve alta project group meetings have been held. Earlier meetings have focused upon the transition to the Perform, Learn, Develop on-line mentoring platform, the contract associated with this, the licence fee (covered by the RAeS and linked to two further careers platforms already provided to the RAeS, by PLD). The new collaboration agreement, which has a five year duration, was drawn up by the legal team at the University of the West of England, and went through a number of drafts, before finally being signed by all founding partners in May, 2018. This, along with the RAeS business plan for alta, has been the focus of discussions for the project group. Meetings from January 2019 onwards have focused more on the final testing of the mentoring platform and the marketing and recruitment campaign. Key individuals have been contacted as part of the recruitment of mentors, including current members of alta (mentors only), the members of the government and industry supported Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter Council, who are mostly senior women in the industry, the RAeS female Fellows, the Aerospace Growth Partnership Working Group and the Aviation Industry Skills Board members. We have also discussed, in detail, the launch of alta to mentees in the industry on 8th March, based upon a detailed communications plan put together by the RAeS. These meetings have been crucial in enabling us to establish the impact of alta so far, helping the founding partners to 'roll out' alta further within their organisation and the RAeS taking on responsibility for alta whilst maintaining the strategic priorities of the alta project group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://alta.onpld.com/
 
Description Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Annual Women's Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The conference theme was 'Digitalisation and Diversity' and was held at the RAeS headquarters in Mayfair, London. Speakers included the Managing Director of Rockwell Collins, the Chief Operating Officer from The Aeroapace Technology Institute, Head of Development Applications Airbus, and the SOI for Diversity and Inclusion at the Royal Air Force. The alta founding members were also present and publicity (e.g. posters and postcards advertising alta) were widely distributed. There was an opportunity to update delegates from the industry on alta and there was an opportunity for delegates to ask questions, both during the presentation and during networking throughout the day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Diversity Engagement Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This event was organised as part of the Royal Aeronautical Society's commitment to working towards increasing diversity within the aerospace and aviation industry and professions. The event took place in London and brought together Society members, their Corporate Partners, diversity experts, and STEM organisations to explore various diversity strands in order to inform the RAeS diversity strategy. Key questions included:

• What is inclusion best practice in society?
• What does industry need to be doing to address our diversity requirements?
• What role can the Society play in supporting industry and other partners?

The aim of the workshop was to define the strategic objectives for the RAeS, in conjunction with their partners, and outline recommended actions and a work plan to achieve success for the benefit of the aerospace and aviation industry.

The workshop included several presentations. Ana Lopes (the Co-I) presented an outline of the alta mentoring scheeme, including highlights of the academic research that underpinned the scheme, in the gender strand of the workshop. The presentation sparked interest and discussion around women's mentoring needs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Survey findings feedback to project partners and guests 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Approximately twelve individuals (the UWE team, three project partners and an external marketing director from the industry) attended this meeting. The UWE team presented back the findings from the on-line survey that was distributed to all female members of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the professional body representing the industry. The presentation stimulated a great deal of discussion and enabled the partners to realise some of the mentoring needs of female professionals both within their organisations and the industry generally and how we may begin to address these through the design of the mentoring scheme. Approximately half of all respondents to the survey indicated that they would be willing to take part in a follow-up interview with the UWE team and also that they would be willing to become a mentor once the mentoring scheme was up and running, indicating a high level of engagement with the mentoring project/scheme. The individuals present at the meeting discussed the survey findings at length and ways in which the needs of women could be addressed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Survey of alta members 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact During August, 2016, the UWE Research Team administered a short survey to 150 alta members. We had a response rate of 15%, which was a combination of mentors and mentees. We asked respondents whether they had been matched, how they had found the matching process, whether they felt the matching questionnaire enabled them to accurately profile themselves and whether they were happy with their match. We also asked how useful they found the alta website, the training and online resources and whether there were any further services they would like from alta. Finally, we asked what we were doing 'right' and also how we could improve. Responses were generally encouraging around matching and the completion of matching questions. The information we received on the usefulness of the alta website and further services members would like us to offer alta, has been invaluable in enabling us to make immediate improvements (i.e. to the matching questions) and also how we can improve the technology we currently have. Members also wanted to see more regular 'newsfeeds' and more communication from alta, which we are currently working on. This survey feedback will ultimately enable us to improve what we offer now and what we can develop in the future, depending on cost.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description UWE Bristol Distinguished Executive Address 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact As part of the Distinguished Executive Address Series at the University of the West of England (UWE) Mark Stewart, General Manager and HR Director at Airbus delivered a talk on how Airbus is seeking to address skills shortages in the aviation and aerospace industry. Airbus has been pro-active in addressing the skills shortages in this sector, via a variety of measures, with UWE being a key partner. A key plank of the Airbus approach to addressing skills shortages was identified as the the alta mentoring scheme. Stewart reported that 150 women were registered for the scheme and that Airbus would continue to support and expand this mentoring initiative. This talk was important in relation to telling a wider and more diverse audience about the alta mentoring scheme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Unionlearn Blog Entry 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Published a blog entry entitled 'Mentoring scheme for women in aviation: the first of its kind' on TUC Unionlearn's blog. Unionlearn is the branch of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that assists unions in the delivery of learning opportunities for their members. This disseminated the project to trade union activists and members nationally and provoked thought further afield. For example, we were subsequently sent requests for the blog entry to be re-published by the Royal Aeronautical Society (newsletter) and the British Universities Industrial relations Association (main webpage).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.unionlearn.org.uk/blog/mentoring-scheme-women-aviation-first-its-kind
 
Description Visit to Rolls Royce, Bristol, to present on the alta mentoring scheme to the Rolls Royce Women's Network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Members of the UWE team were invited to Rolls Royce, Bristol, to present on the alta mentoring scheme. Several women from Rolls Royce (Bristol and Derby) had taken part in interviews as part of the research project and were aware of the project and the mentoring scheme that had been launched in October, 2015. There was a high level of interest in joining the mentoring scheme from the women present at this event and we will arrange to return to Rolls Royce later in the year to discuss membership.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Women in Aviation and Aerospace annual conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Approximately one hundred professional women and employers from across the aviation and aerospace industry attended this conference, where the knowledge exchange project to design and build the mentoring scheme was launched. The principal investigator and Chair of the women's committee presented on the project objectives, rationale and timescales and invited women to get involved in the project. The audience was enthusiastic about the project, indicated by a high level of questions and discussion during the question and answer session and the networking event that followed the presentations. A number of enquiries were received from women after the event who wished to get involved in the project and many completed the on-line survey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description alta Project Group Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Between March 2017 and March 2018, the alta project group met regularly (a total of twenty meetings). The project group comprises founding members from the University of the West of England, Airbus, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Little Blue Jets). Meetings were either face-to-face or via Webex) and were held to discuss, plan and organise the transition of the alta mentoring platform to the Royal Aeronautical Society. This centred around the construction of a new Collaboration Agreement (lead by the University of the West of England) and including the above partners. While the meetings were predominantly focused upon the Collaboration Agreement, they also focused on discussions of a business plan, submitted by the RAeS, to take alta out into the wider aviation and aerospace industry and the financial support it would offer in order to do this. Discussions in these meetings included, the funding model put forward by the RAeS, the allocation of intellectual property rights (IP) to the founding partners, a review of the alta system, status of the mentor/mentee questionnaire, alta promotional events, transfer of the alta platform from Traffic Digital (current hosts) to Perform, Learn, Develop (PLD) (future providers identified by the RAeS), review of the alta website, data protection, the membership of the alta steering committee going forward (including a Chair). In sum, these meetings were integral to the RAeS taking over responsibility for alta, including its resourcing. They were also an opportunity to review the system, including the matching questions and to form a future alta Steering Committee, which will comprise the founding members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description alta Project Group Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project group, which was originally formed as part of the funded, one year project, has continued to meet as the alta Project Group. This group continues to be led by the Principal Investigator and comprises members of the UWE research team and all the founding partners. The meetings are utilised to determine and sustain the strategic direction of alta and discussions are in relation to the progress of alta so far, changes to the alta platform and the strategy for taking alta forward, into the wider industry. Since the last report was submitted in March, 2016, nine alta project group meetings have been held, either at Airbus (Bristol), the RAeS (London) or via Webex. Earlier meetings focused on alta member feedback, membership updates, promotion of alta at external events, changes to the matching questions and more recently, a strategy for taking alta forward into the industry under the guidance of the RAeS. This has involved the writing and consideration of the RAeS business plan and their future plans for the expansion of alta, as well as interest from an external investor. These meetings have been crucial in enabling us to establish the impact of alta so far, helping the founding partners to 'roll out' alta further within their organisation and the RAeS preparing to take on responsibility for alta whilst maintaining the strategic priorities of the alta project group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL https://alta-mentoring.com
 
Description alta Update 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This alta update session was run at Airbus, Bristol, and was for anyone in Airbus who had either joined or was considering joining the alta mentoring scheme. The session covered current numbers/demographics of alta members, progress to date and some 'good news' stories about alta mentor/mentee pairs. The session also covered the 'next steps' for alta and offered the opportunity for alta members to feed back their experiences so far and also the potential for new members to ask questions about how to get involved in alta. The event was attended by men and women (predominantly women) from within Airbus with whom we could formally engage with during the presentation but also informally network with after the formal presentation. There was a high level of interest in alta amongst the group and we were able to answer questions from new members as well as existing members. This event was important in relation to showing support for current members but also recruiting new members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description alta mentor/mentee training sessions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the research project and design of the mentoring scheme, the UWE team designed bespoke training sessions for mentors and mentees that were delivered face-to-face within the founding partner organisations. A total of three training sessions were delivered with a combination of women seeking to join alta as mentors, mentees, or both. Training covered the rationale for the mentoring scheme, the research findings from the research project and mentor/mentee training, drawing upon a combination of theory, practice and role play/mentoring rehearsals. The problems associated with gender stereotyping in the workplace and the importance of mentoring for women in male dominated organisations/industries was also covered. Written feedback from the training sessions indicates that participants found the training to be of 'good' or 'excellent' quality, that the mentoring rehearsals and learning styles sessions had been particularly helpful and that key learning about how to be a good mentor/mentee and how to approach formal, structured mentoring had been useful. Perceived barriers to mentoring, such as gaining line manager approval to participate in alta, how to deal with 'tricky' situations in mentoring meetings, knowing how to approach mentoring for the first time and making time out of a busy working day for mentoring, were also addressed. Subsequent mentor/mentee training will be delivered on-line, via the alta mentoring platform. This training has been developed from the face-to-face training and all alta mentors and mentees are required to complete the on-line training before they can join alta.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description unionlearn Blog Entry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A published blog entry, entitled, 'Mentoring scheme for women in aviation: the first of its kind', on the TUC Unionlearn blog. Union learn is the branch of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that assists unions in the delivery of learning opportunities for its members. The blog enabled dissemination of information about the project to trade union activists and members nationally and provoked thought further afield. For example, we subsequently received a request for the blog entry to be re-published by the Business Manager at the Royal Aeronautical Society, in the Society's newsletter and also from the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (main webpage).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.unionlearn.org.uk/blog/mentoring-scheme-women-aviation-first-its-kind