I’ve been reflecting over my engagement with the non profit organization Pepp that I’m currently project manager of in the Stockholm-based project. Pepp wants to see more female engineers and have created a mentorship program with 3 target groups. In Stockholm, the program has over 100 participants, 6 partner companies and 9 events during the spring of 2017.
The first group consists of girls in high school. Due to the current educational system in Sweden, not a lot of engineering subjects are taught, and too few girls actively choose to study them. In order to give them an insight into the possibilities with a technical degree, Pepp provides these girls with mentors from an appropriate university. In Stockholm, it’s KTH.
The mentors from KTH are our second group, they are all women and actively study one of the many engineering or architecture programs at KTH. The majority are actively engaged in volunteering projects such as Pepp and other amazing organizations. Each one goes through interviews and a matching process before being chosen, all based on the high school girls preferences. Our KTH mentors provide the high school students with support, guidance and insight into life as an engineer. They meet up monthly for private sessions and usually attend Pepps events together.
The third group are professionals, usually from our partner companies. These professionals become mentors for our KTH students/mentors, creating a mentorship in three levels. We want to provide the KTH mentors with a mentor to provide them with necessary tools, strategies and insight in order to navigate as they enter the market as young professionals. At this level, both women and men act as mentors, depending on the preferences of the KTH student. In return, our professional level of mentors gain insight and experience from the new generation of young professionals and create meaningful networks with younger generations.
On national level, our university mentors have studied at KTH, Chalmers, LTU and UTH. As they move on to become young professionals, our network grows stronger and reach more levels in even more companies. Today the network already reaches across multiple generations. Many of our mentors are senior managers, directors and board members in our partner companies. And since Pepp has collaborated with Spotify, Ericsson, Volvo, Sandvik, Cygni, Bontouch, Alten and so many more and great companies, our network truly is amazing. On a yearly basis, each new project team brings their unique touch, making sure that the organization stays relevant to the current needs and trends of our members.
Going beyond our mentorship program, what we really want is to see more women engineers, who love their work. To get there we need to find more young girls that like STEM. Because of this, Pepp often attend and engage in events outside of the mentorship program. One example is the Tekla festival held by KTH each year where 400 girls between 11 and 15 years old gets to visit KTH and play around with building and coding robots, try virtual reality, build toys, gadgets and jewelry from electrical circuits and much more. This year, Pepp joined in together with Spotify, Ericsson, Scania and Creuna.
The experience of running a project with budget, people, events and hundreds of stakeholders (high school students, KTH students, professionals, project team, the board, partner companies and their event teams, speakers etc..) at this stage in my life has been thrilling. Not only because of pure bragging rights, but because of the cause of ‘mentorship’. Mentoring creates value at so many levels for everybody involved. For me it’s also currently one of my biggest passions and sources of inspiration. I’m really looking forward to find a new way to work with it as this Pepp year ends in May.
Is your company looking to partner up with Pepp in 2018 or do you want to join us as a mentor? Reach out to me and lets see what we have in common and what we want to create together!