Mentoring With Routes - Developing Purposeful Leaders And Champions For Change In The Workplace

By Daisy Jacobs, Co-Founder & Director at Routes on 21/07/2021

Routes is a social enterprise born to champion women, connect communities and inspire real change through mentoring programmes and creative workshops.

A mentoring experience with double the impact

Routes runs a four-month mentoring programme that offers professional development training for early to mid-career women across sectors, connecting them with women from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds for a structured programme of mutual learning and development.

The four month programme equips high potential women from businesses and organisations with the necessary values and skills to become mentors to women from refugee backgrounds, whilst themselves becoming more purposeful leaders, excellent communicators and champions for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Pairs are matched based on skill sets, personal/professional interests and location and our mentors are trained in communication and listening skills, leadership and coaching techniques. We support everyone to develop a meaningful relationship, built on mutual trust and respect. The result is real impact in the lives of mentees, as well as the development of a cohort of purposeful future leaders and change makers, who are more compassionate, patient and aware of the situation of those seeking asylum in the UK.

"A wholly unique and rewarding experience. I've felt supported, challenged and inspired. I learned as much in ten weeks as I have from years of training and professional mentoring."

Mylinh Cao, Head of Creative Content at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 2018 mentor

Absorb • Act • Reflect

Mentors receive training in essential skills and techniques that they can put into practice immediately across 10 hours of mentoring with their mentees. Supported by one another and by the Routes team, mentors continually reflect deeply on their individual learning experiences.

13 Hours of Training

Over 13 hours, split across one full day and two evenings, mentors attend training delivered by the Routes team and faculty, covering:

  • Non-directive mentoring skills
  • Coaching techniques 
  • Compassionate communication
  • Road mapping and goal setting
  • Reflection techniques
  • Taking learnings back into the workplace

10 Hours of Mentoring

Mentees meet their mentors before or after work, or during lunch breaks, in or around the mentor's workplace. Mentors support their mentees to set, track and evaluate a roadmap of actions to achieve the mentee's goals in:

  • Accessing work opportunities
  • Applying for education or training 
  • Developing digital skills 
  • Improving communication skills

“As a leader and colleague I will listen more, ask more questions and try to widen my understanding wherever possible. And as an employer I will improve my practices to be more inclusive and understand that people's ability isn't always obvious from their CV.”

Sally Catmull, Head of Communications and External Affairs at UK Community Foundations (UKCF), 2019 mentor

A note on COVID-19

We have successfully adapted the programme in response to COVID-19. Our three most recent programmes have been delivered digitally, with training days and mentor meet-ups happening over Zoom, and 1:1 mentoring meetings being carried out over video call.

Mentors are supported to adapt their mentoring style for the digital space, whilst mentees are provided with the technology and connectivity to ensure that meetings are able to happen online.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update prospective mentors as things become clearer over the coming months, nevertheless through these developments it shows our programmes are continuing to run and deliver real impact in the face of COVID-19.

"Being a mentor with Routes has been enriching from all points of view: the relationship with my mentee, as well as the other mentors; the training and support from Routes; my personal growth. I cannot explain how fortunate I feel to have embarked on this journey."

Antonella Mandato, Risk Reporting Analyst at Investec UK, 2020 mentor

Interested in getting involved?

Our next programme for 2021 will begin in October. Applications are open and will close on Sunday 5th September.

To register your interest in becoming a mentor, click here.

Routes welcomes mentors from all sectors including video games and interactive entertainment, as we are experienced in supporting and have had mentors from a range of companies such as Barclays, Ben & Jerry's, and the NHS amongst others.

If you need more information and would like to see a list of FAQs we receive, check out our mentoring page here.  

You can check out Routes Website here and to keep up to date with activities and news from Routes, you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram.