Publication description

This publication provides general information about the Civil Service LGBT+ Network’s mentoring programme, including eligibitly, how to become a mentor and a mentee, and what resources and support are available.

Registrations for the 2021 programme have now closed.

If you registered as either a mentee or mentor before the deadline, we will contact you soon via email with your matches. If you have not heard from us by 1 September 2021, please email and we will check the status of your application.

About the programme

Research into the career progression of LGBT+ civil servants conducted by our predecessor network, the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance, found that respondents felt they didn’t have access to the same career opportunities – and particularly development opportunities – as their straight or cisgendered counterparts. We know that access to mentoring is one of the things you have consistently asked for.

We have created the Civil Service LGBT+ Network mentoring programme to provide LGBT+ people working in the Civil Service access to mentors who are also LGBT+ and working in more senior roles.

The programme is run entirely online, so anyone can take part no matter who you are, where you live or where you are in your career journey.

Who the programme is for

The Civil Service LGBT+ Network mentoring programme is open to all staff who have a minority sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or have variations in sex characteristics (LGBT+). Participation is voluntary.

Who can be a mentor

Anyone can be a mentor. We ask that mentors identify as LGBT+.

It doesn’t matter what grade you are, what profession you work in, or where you are based. We will generally try to match mentors to mentees who are one or two grades more junior than they are.

We will give all mentors access to induction and guidance on how to be effective in their role as a mentor.

We strongly encourage people at all grades to sign up as mentors – whether you’re an SCS or an AO. Everyone can help someone! The more mentors we have, the more mentees we can support through the programme.

Who can be a mentee

Anyone can be a mentee. The scheme is aimed at people who identify as LGBT+.

If you’re a mentee, we’ll be aiming to match you to mentors that are one or two grades more senior than you are.

Whilst we can’t guarantee that everyone will find a mentor they keep for the long term, we will try to ensure everyone can access a speed mentoring session as part of the programme.

How it works

1. Register your interest

You can register as a mentor, a mentee, or both. You can register online using these forms:

As part of the registration process you will be asked to provide information including:

  • your name
  • your contact details
  • your current grade, profession, and department

We will use this information to match up potential mentors and mentees.

We only accept new registrations for the programme at certain points of the year. We will publish information our website when the application window is open.

2. Wait for your potential matches

After you have registered and after the registration window has closed, we will:

  • invite you to an induction event
  • email you with several potential matches

Each mentor and mentee will be given up to 3 matches.

It may take several weeks to find a suitable match for you. Please be patient. If we are unable to find a potential match, we will contact you to let you know.

3. Set up a ‘speed mentoring’ session

Once you have received your matches, if you are a:

  • mentee, you should contact each mentor you are matched with to arrange a 30 minute ‘speed mentoring’ session
  • mentor, you should wait to be contacted by each mentee

You should use the speed mentoring session to:

  • exchange quick advice on topics relevant to your career or development
  • decide if you would like to continue your mentoring relationship beyond that one-off session

4. Keep the conversation going

If you agreed to meet your mentor or mentee again, it is your responsibility to keep the relationship going. It is up to you to decide how it progresses.

You can meet with each other as little or as often as you both like, and it’s up to you how long the relationship lasts. We would usually expect mentors and mentees to meet every 4 to 8 weeks for up to 1 year.

We will publish and send guidance to you about how to make the most of your mentoring relationship during the first 3 months after you match.

We know that not everyone will find a mentoring relationship they are willing or able to maintain long term. That is why we are using a ‘speed mentoring’ format, so that everyone that takes part gets something from the programme.

How to get involved

Become a mentor

Give something back and become an LGBT+ mentor. Acting as a mentor can help other, less experienced staff get on with their career. It can be a rewarding experience for you too; you can learn new skills and it makes a great corporate contribution.

As a mentor, you’ll be asked to:

  1. Meet with up to 3 mentees for ‘speed mentoring’. You will be asked to meet for one, 30 minute session with each mentee. They will contact you to arrange a suitable time and date.
  2. Agree to mentor at least one longer-term mentee. Once you have met all your mentees, we’d ask that you agree to keep meeting at least one of them to provide them with a mentoring relationship on an ongoing basis.

As a mentor, you can expect to:

  1. be matched with someone one or two grades more junior to you
  2. be offered a short induction session for new mentors
  3. receive published guidance on how to maximise your role as a mentor
  4. have the chance to join a network of other mentors who you can speak to for advice too

Become a mentee

Give your career a boost and sign up as a mentee. The right mentor can help you to refine your career goals, identify opportunities for development and build your networks.

As a mentee, you’ll be asked to:

  1. Set up ‘speed mentoring’ sessions with each mentor we match you with. It is your responsibility to arrange a suitable time and date. You should meet each mentor for an initial 30 minute session.
  2. Decide if you want to keep a mentor. If you feel you can learn something from one of the mentors you meet, ask them if they can be your mentor long-term.
  3. Lead your relationship with your mentor. If you are successful in securing a long-term mentor, it’s your responsibility to organise meetings and lead your relationship with them.

As a mentee, you can expect to:

  1. be offered a short induction session for new mentees
  2. receive published guidance on how to maximise your role as a mentee

Resources and support

We have produced the following resources for those participating in the programme: