Welcome to Women in Rail’s Mentoring Programme!

A sustainable, scalable and transferrable cross-industry Mentoring Programme delivered by Women in Rail in collaboration with Moving Ahead.

We are delighted you are interested in taking part in the Women in Rail cross-industry mentoring programme. The purpose of the programme is to provide a support platform for women and men in UK rail, champion diverse thinking, cross-fertilisation of ideas and networks and promote diversity in rail, starting with gender diversity as the core focus, but embracing broader diversity over time.


Watch WR Mentoring Showcase 


Partnering with Moving Ahead

Women in Rail is running the Women in Rail cross-industry mentoring programme in collaboration with Moving Ahead, a specialist company that is behind the design and management of the mentoring algorithm which supports the matching of mentors and mentees for the world’s largest cross-company mentoring programme on behalf of the hugely successful 30% Club. In the last six years, over 30,000 learning individuals, from more than 300 organisations and more than 30 sectors, have taken part in a Moving Ahead or Women Ahead programme.


Key features of the Women in Rail cross-industry mentoring programme

The Women in Rail cross-industry mentoring programme is a pioneering programme designed to help participants progress in their career and to improve gender balance, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry. The programme has received endorsements from DfT, RDG, BEIS and key rail companies.

Mentors are senior men and women professionals working in UK rail and mentees are junior men and women working in UK rail.

Mentees are matched with a mentor from a different company, based on the requirements they have entered on their profile – including location, personal interests, technical skills and experience.

Male mentees are matched with a female mentor (to the extent possible), to promote inclusion and diversity of thoughts. Female mentees are given priority in terms of their matching preferences (as entered on their profile) and matched with either a female or a male mentor.

The matching is then carried out by an algorithm with each match being reviewed and approved by the Women in Rail mentoring team at Moving Ahead.

Mentors and mentees receive professional training and guidance on their mentoring journey via a mentoring pair guide and live events throughout the programme.

Mentors, mentees and programme partners are also encouraged to attend all three learning/networking events where they have an opportunity to ask questions and receive additional guidance but also expand their network within the UK railway industry.


Top three benefits for…

Participating organisations:

  • The programme assists with career development planning.
  • The programme is a proven, powerful and practical way to impact D&I goals, gender pay gap reporting and gender balance, beyond internal programmes.
  • The programme has been tried and tested and represents global best practice and continued innovation in mentoring.


  • The programme develops skills, knowledge and confidence through transferable skills and human relationships with built-in accountability.
  • The programme supports mentees in taking control of their careers and gives them inspiration, support and challenges them to move forward.
  • The programme exposes mentees to a global community of like-minded individuals, expanding their network and also developing networking skills.


  • The programme makes gender diversity issues tangible for mentors, turning them into advocates and facilitators of wider culture change.
  • The programme helps leaders connect to meaning in their own careers and inspires them to stretch further.
  • The programme gives mentors a vital insight into other rail organisations, builds and develops transferable skills and expands their network further.

Case studies

Here are some case studies:
WR Case study-Carolyn and Lucy
WR Case study-Lei and David


The programme is funded by companies (participating companies) from the UK railway industry willing to take part with participation being entirely voluntary.

For a fee of £250 per individual, each participating company can put forward between six and 20 mentors and mentees in equal numbers (from six mentors and mentees, to 20 mentors and mentees) from their own organisation.

Each participating company nominates a Programme Partner whose task is to lead the programme internally for their organisation, put forward individuals for mentoring and review the matches proposed by the Women in Rail mentoring team. Each programme partner receives guidance and is supported by the Women in Rail mentoring team throughout the duration of the programme.

The £250 fee includes, for each mentor and mentee:

  • Matching (and re-matching if necessary)
  • Access to all learning materials
  • Three networking events and ongoing support throughout the nine months of the programme


Women in Rail Charitable Pro-Bono Fund

As part of its repowered programme, Women in Rail has created a charitable fund, the Pro-Bono Fund.

The purpose of the Pro-Bono Fund is to enable women associated with the UK railway industry to take part in the programme as a mentee free of charge (a Pro-Bono female mentee).

Eligible women are job seekers, women in transition, on care leave, or women from organisations not able to take part in the programme, with consideration being given to Women in Rail’s core aim of promoting diversity in UK rail (specific and strict eligibility criteria apply).

The Pro-Bono Fund is sponsored by participating companies who are made aware of this initiative when signing up, and given the opportunity to either:

  • Put forward one additional mentor (i.e. 11 mentors and 10 mentees)
  • Put forward one less mentee than mentors (i.e. 10 mentors and 9 mentees)
  • Make a donation of £250 to sponsor a Pro-Bono mentoring place for a Pro-Bono female mentee.


The Women in Rail cross-company mentoring programme 2019 – a few interesting facts

  • 86% of mentors and mentees said they developed transferrable skills and behaviours.
  • 75% of the participants rated their match as ‘excellent’.
  • The Women in Rail cross-company mentoring programme saw 97 pairs being matched with 194 mentors and mentees from 11 different rail organisations taking part in the programme.
  • The programme also welcomed three Pro-Bono mentees which was fantastic.
  • 86% of participants said they would recommend the programme to a colleague.
  • The programme contained 12 hours of Continued Professional Development, accessible via mentoring meetings, events and online learning material.


A few facts about the Women in Rail Mentoring Programme 2020:

  • 156 mentors and 156 mentees are taking part, matched in 78 pairs
  • Mentees number breakdown:
    • Male mentees = 17
    • Female mentee = 134
    • Mentee gender “prefer not to say/other/blank” = 5
  • Mentors number breakdown:
    • Male mentors = 70
    • Female mentors = 80
    • Mentor gender “prefer not to say/other/blank” = 7
  • All Male mentees have been matched to a female mentor
  • All Female mentees who requested a female mentor have been assigned a female mentor
  • For all 98% of matches, as well as the key criteria, we have been able to accommodate location preferences
  • Total pro-bono pairs – 12

This is fantastic!

To find out more, please do contact us on WRMentoringTeam@moving-ahead.org