How are women supported and promoted in companies? Even though this question is important all year round, it is of course in the spotlight on International Women’s Day. At Opel, women are represented in all departments. In addition, there are a number of options that (not only) women can use for their further development and to boost their own careers – at any age, at any step on the career ladder. Here are three of them:
1. Mentoring in the company
Target group: all Opel employees
Goal: to promote personal development
Duration: as agreed
The idea: one experienced employee (mentor) and one inexperienced employee (mentee) grow by establishing close contact and dialogue with each other. The mentor in particular supports the mentee in finding their way around the company, further developing and achieving their goals.
Conversely, the mentor ideally also benefits from the mentee’s new perspective. Women engaged for PSA Germany (WEP Germany) would like to encourage all employees to find a mentor and thus benefit from this special connection to a colleague.
At WEP Germany, this has already been run as a pilot project several times since 2016 as part of a mentoring programme. Both male and female mentees and mentors have participated. At the beginning, a type of speed dating took place during which mentors and mentees were paired up.
The success of the pairs was measured by anonymous surveys. 80 per cent of the mentees state that they have developed personally through the mentoring programme. Specifically, the following aspects were mentioned as objectives that were achieved:
- greater ability to work in a team
- better understanding of how to communicate with management
- better awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses
- gaining an external perception of oneself
- development of the feeling of being responsible for one’s own career
- a better work-life balance
”I was able to get valuable advice from a more experienced person and improve my communication skills and learn new ways of thinking! Every experience like this is important and helps us grow!”
Barbara Rumin; Mentee 2019
“I have been a mentee in the WEP Germany network since 2019. Once a month I am in contact with my mentor, who has already supported me in many ways and really helped me. For me, the mentoring programme was and is the perfect way to better understand a company, forge my own path in it and to grow and develop in a company. But it is not only this company-specific exchange that is very valuable for me. Above all, the personal stories of my mentor and the friendly exchange that has grown over time has influenced me in my actions and ideas, and not only in the business environment. The mentoring programme has not only given me a mentor, but also a ‘big sister’ for whom I am very grateful, especially during the turbulence of 2020.”
Virginia Ballaschk, Mentee seit 2019
The experts of the Career Development Group are happy to answer any questions you may have, e.g.:
- How do I find a mentor who suits me?
- How does a mentoring session work?
- What do I need to keep in mind so that both sides benefit from mentoring?
2. Career Development Workshops & Training
Target group: all network members of WEP Germany
Goal: targeted professional development on various topics
Timing: once per quarter
Duration: approximately one hour
Once per quarter, the Career Development working group offers a workshop or training that teaches both soft skills and hard skills (e.g. new company tools) on a specific set of topics.
A popular example is the workshop on sponsoring. Participants learn what exactly sponsoring is and how it can promote their own career. The methods used include self-reflection and group work. Upon completion, participants know concrete measures such as “personal branding” and the “elevator speech” to set goals for themselves and find a sponsor.
Currently, all events take place in digital form. The next sponsoring workshop is planned for the second quarter.
Further information & participation:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
3. Hessen Technikum
Target group: young women who have completed their A levels or advanced technical college entrance qualification
Goal: familiarisation with natural sciences and technical/engineering studies, career profiles and careers
Timing: annually from October to March
Duration: 6 months (3 months each in two different companies)
Women are still underrepresented in technical professions. The objective of the Hessen Technikum is to show them the opportunities available to them after their A levels or advanced technical college entrance qualification. The joint project of all technical universities for applied sciences in Hessen with STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enables the participants to get to know and actively participate in everyday working life in various technical professions four days a week for six months.
Of this, three months at Opel are also possible. Here, for example, the trainees are guests in the apprentice workshop, where they learn about vehicle development and help in final assembly. The “technical assistants” forge, solder and even install parts for instance in a vehicle door at the plant. They are accompanied by Opel employees as mentors.
Upon completion of the Hessen Technikum, the interns summarise and present their results. The work in the company is remunerated. In addition, the participants attend courses at a university one day per week.
”During the Hessen Technikum, I learned an incredible amount about technical/scientific professions and everyday life in companies. It’s a super opportunity for all women who have an interest in STEM subjects to help with their choice of studies and careers.”
“Through the Hessen Technikum, I gained valuable insight into the professional and working world, which is normally not so easily possible in this form. I am now more certain about the career direction I want to go in and more confident that I don’t have to be afraid of a technical course of study as a woman. So I can definitely recommend the Hessen Technikum!“
Further Information & Participation: