Article contributed by the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
A year after its launch, the pilot project Mentoring for Women Engineering Students (MWES) is an unqualified success.
In January 2020, Kathy Baig, President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, clearly laid out two objectives – the first: to ensure that everything is done to support the next generation of engineers, and the second: to help achieve Engineers Canada’s objective by earmarking this mentoring program for women engineering students, as part of the 30 by 30 Initiative. “The experience has given me a clearer sense of where I want to be in the future”, said one of the mentees about the program.
The purpose of the MWES is to guide young women who want to become engineers toward the engineer title. The program encourages the exchange of engineering knowledge and experiences during their university training. Mentors and mentees are asked to commit to the program for a period of 12 months. If both parties agree, however, there is the possibility of renewing the partnership beyond that timeframe. “I feel that my mentor has experience and is there to help me. I feel less at sea in this new world. I have someone who is always there when I need help or have questions”, says another mentee.
During their participation in the MWES program, students will have the opportunity to:
- Benefit from contact with the engineering profession in real practice;
- Make a better engineering career choice;
- Learn the inner workings of the business world through the experiences of the mentor;
- Broaden their network of professional contacts;
- Develop self-confidence;
- Acquire the title of engineer.
In September 2020, the first cohort of 200 students teamed up with 200 mentors. The mentors, full-time practicing engineers, are members of the Ordre, and the mentees are students enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering program in a Québec university. “I don’t have anyone in my family or circle of friends in the engineering field,” explains this student chosen for the program. “My mentor has been a big help in identifying the stages I can expect to go through after graduation. I’ll be doing my first internship this year, and my mentor is helping me with my searches. I feel extremely lucky to be so well prepared.”
After only a few months, the Ordre’s mentoring program is already well under way and proving itself. The MWES scored a satisfaction rate of 90% from the mentors and mentees.
How to be part of the MWES in 2021
As a result of the program’s success and strong buy-in from the student community, a new mixed cohort of students was organized in November 2020. The program is now being offered free-of-charge to all students enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering program in Québec, for as long as spaces are available.
A new cohort will open up in September 2021!