TWO North Belfast MLAs have helped launch a new mentoring programme aimed at connecting today’s female leaders with tomorrow’s future leaders.
The SDLP’s Nichola Mallon and Paula Bradley of the DUP were present at the recent event at Parliament Buildings, which was set up by leading not-for-profit organisation Groundwork NI.
The programme involves leading female leaders from across business, politics, academia, community and voluntary and policing act as mentors for forty women who aspire one day, to follow their example.
Paula Bradley along with her fellow North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon signed up to become a mentor, pledging to share their experience and knowledge aimed at helping their mentee shape their professional development.
Event sponsor Paula Bradley MLA said: “Groundwork NI’s mentoring programme launch event at Parliament Buildings was a great success. The evening brought together many senior and influential female figures from across various sectors in Northern Ireland.
“The programme will allow forty women to benefit from the advice, guidance and support of the mentors and aims to ensure that they reach their full potential.
“It’s important that there are no off-limits areas for females and this programme will inspire women to achieve success in their chosen field.”
Mentor and local MLA Nichola Mallon added: “It’s very exciting to be involved in this programme, bringing women together of all ages, all professions and backgrounds to learn from each other and support one another. When women support each other incredible things can happen and I want to pay tribute to Paula Quigley for driving this fantastic opportunity for us all.”
During the launch, both mentors and mentees heard from a range of speakers who shared their experiences of how mentoring has shaped their professional development. Over the coming months, the mentors will meet their mentees through varied events and planned sessions. They will share experiences, skills and advice aimed at helping them to develop their leadership skills, confidence, and understanding of the role they can play in society.
Groundwork NI Chief Executive Paula Quigley hopes this will be a catalyst for many of the women taking part to take control of their futures.
“The crux of this programme is to connect grassroots women with female leaders currently doing great things in their respective fields,” she said.
“When engaging with our mentees we learned that they had obtained a variety of qualifications and certificates but there was a real gap in the marketplace for practical training and advice.
“For a variety of reasons, personal, financial, available opportunities women were not getting the practical guidance to allow them to get to the next stage in business. We hope this mentorship programme will bridge this gap”.