Mentoring opportunities

Mentoring provides a safe, confidential environment for individuals to explore work, career and personal issues such as balancing work with family life.

We offer a range of different mentoring opportunities such as:

Women in Ecology Mentoring Scheme

We have run a mentoring scheme for women in ecology since 2009. Mentors provide professional support to mentees with everything from a change of career, applying for grants, moving to a lectureship from post-doctoral research or balancing work with family life.

Who can apply?

Mentees must be women BES members, who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in ecology or related subject.

Mentors must be BES members with more than five years work experience in any sector of relevance to ecology (this can include postgraduate study).

You can be based anywhere in the world, as long as you are happy to participate by email, telephone or Skype. Mentoring pairs must keep in touch on a regular basis (via phone, Skype or in person). A minimum of 3 contact hours in total will be expected, per month.

For more information on what is expected from mentors and mentees, please read the Guide to the BES Women In Ecology Mentoring Scheme

Why mentoring for women? 

There is poor representation of women at senior levels of life science professions. Within academia, only 15% of biology professors in the UK are women.  This trend is also seen in ecology; a 2013 survey of BES members showed that women are over-represented at undergraduate and postgraduate levels but increasingly underrepresented at postdoc level and beyond. The BES recognises that encouraging women to remain in ecological careers, all the way to the top, is Society business.

We believe that better retention of women in ecology will lead to the creation of a more diverse, stimulating and talented research community, in an inclusive and positive working environment.

Can men be mentors?

Many senior women scientists cite the influence and support of male mentors in their career progression. We are also aware that the under-representation of women in senior positions means that these women are under considerable strain to provide pastoral responsibilities. We have therefore expanded the Women in Ecology Mentoring Scheme to include male mentors.

We understand that some mentees will prefer to be mentored by other women. You can make this preference clear on your application form.

The benefits of mentoring

Mentoring provides a safe, confidential environment for individuals to explore work, career and sometimes personal issues. Women who are mentored report increased confidence, self-esteem and motivation.

Mentoring also benefits the mentors. They can develop capabilities in developing others outside of their own department or team and also have the satisfaction of seeing another person develop and grow.

Feedback from participants

A mentor says: “Two mentees have now got permanent jobs – I was able to offer specific advice on interview techniques and applications, which I hope was helpful. Also was able to offer advice on a range of other issues that arose.”

A mentee says: “The main benefit is support, and also to get the chance to discuss and plan my career. Otherwise you spend much time doing work, but not thinking about what you want to do later on, and how to get there.”

How to apply & key dates

The deadline for applications has now passed, however opportunities will become available again in 2018. A wider mentoring scheme for BES members of any gender and career stage is also currently in development.