What works for us
One of the springboards for my career was going on a women’s development course. It made me realise what I was able to achieve. I’m at a management level that is still disproportionately male-dominated, so we have introduced three development programmes for women to help them to break into senior management.
The most senior of the programmes is Breakthrough, a network of 20 women from across the council. It’s run in conjunction with the Office for Public Management and it gives women the techniques and tools to break into senior management. They have seminars that allow them to understand and build on their strengths, and to identify what their own career preferences are — women are limited only by their own idea of what’s open to them and what’s not They learn about politics — a number of managers don’t understand the policies driving change in local government. ft also gives them the chance to network with each other.
A shorter scheme is Women In2 Leadèrship, which is run by women who have been on it. The women on this one and on Breakthrough were chosen for it, but we do have a voluntary programme called Springboard. This has an equivalent for men, called Navigator, which involves workshops and a workbook.
There are more development programmes for women than for men because although 80 per cent of our workforce is female, nearly all the senior positions are held by men. We expect the women on the programmes to advance using their new skills.
The Times - Public Agenda - 13 September 2005