In early 2020. Women in BIM (WIB) launched its mentor scheme. One year on, we talk with BIMentor lead Katya Veleva on the success of the scheme, lessons learned and what comes next in this programme she designed for personal and professional development of WIB members
The WIB BIMentor scheme was set up as a natural progression of our core values and objectives of diversity and inclusion, and always striving to integrate and nurture the talent and capabilities of women in BIM related roles.
Over the past few years there have been many instances when our members have struggled with confidence and self-belief; many people in business have exceptional skills but societal and cultural expectations suppress their ability to self-promote.
One of the most wonderful things about WIB is the support our members have for each other and their generosity with their encouragement and resources. Therefore, at the end of 2019 we decided to formalise this support and created the mentoring scheme: BIMentor.
We launched at the end of February 2020 and the process was very simple: we invited all our members to take part and asked them to either sign up to be a mentor or mentee. As you would expect, we received more mentee applications than mentors – we had originally planned to start with 10 matches but ended up starting with 20!
However, without wishing to disappoint those who were not matched with a mentor, we set up a series of group mentoring events in which we had 40 participants – these were very well received and we plan to deliver more later this year.
Expanding BIM horizons
When we started the programme, we had no idea what condition the world would be in today but fortuitously it was the perfect timing. Due to the geographical spread of our members, it was always the plan for parts of the mentoring programme to be delivered virtually, therefore we were ahead of the curve. Over the past 12 months, we have seen some excellent mentoring partnerships lead to technical, personal and business growth.
We saw an exceptionally high level of interest in the mentoring scheme from members (and non-WIB members) in non-English speaking countries. Women in these regions wishing to expand their knowledge base in BIM and digital construction and has seen our membership grow internationally.
At the top of the take-away list for me is that there are even more amazing women out there wanting to grow their BIM skills and within our network we have some exceptionally talented individuals who have sacrificed their time to support and nurture others.
As for what comes next, we have future growth plans and have now launched our 2021 programme. We are inviting anyone (not just WIB members) with a professional background in BIM to join the programme as a mentor; we aim to increase the number of matches this year and unite people with a passion for technology and collaboration in construction.
The purpose of BIMentor is to encourage and empower our members in personal development and professional growth. Eliminating self-doubt and helping to identify and achieve career goals while being able to identify and correct gaps in skillsets.
As well as the transferral of critical business knowledge, BIMentor has helped to develop a pipeline of future BIM specialists who understand the skills and attributes needed to succeed within the digital built environment.