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VCA launch Mentoring Programme for Women

Category: Women

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Crossing Thresholds is a 12 month mentoring programme for women who want to develop their career in a structured and supportive environment.

Learning activities are delivered through 5 facilitated modules, monthly mentoring sessions and peer support groups; the programme aims to improve confidence, personal impact and self-awareness.

Dawn, a Strategy Support Manager at the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), tells us about development opportunities at the agency and how this has helped her to grow and progress:

"I was working as Test Report Editor when I heard about the Crossing Thresholds course and thought it sounded really interesting. I wasn’t thinking about applying for another job at the time but, something my manager often said in meetings struck a chord. He would say “take advantage of training opportunities, think a few years down the line, what do you want to be doing?”. Crossing Thresholds sounded like the perfect course – an opportunity to take time out and explore my options.

Standing up in a room full of strangers on day one and being asked to describe what I was doing now and what I would be doing three to five years down the line was terrifying. Everyone else seemed far more assured, I felt like a fish out of water. 

Fast forward twelve months and I can’t believe how much has changed. I think differently and have learnt loads about myself - my likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. One of the hardest things I did turned out to be one of the best modules on the course. I was videoed whilst having a practise interview. That was a module I was looking forward to and dreading in equal measures. It was enlightening, not only did I gain valuable feedback, tips and hints on interview technique, I gained an insight into how I perceive myself compared with how others perceive me and found they don’t exactly match up – it seems I’m my own worst critic.

The support of a 1-1 mentor was without doubt the most positive and valuable aspect of Crossing Thresholds. I was able to talk openly and honestly and use her as a sound board. She challenged my thoughts and bolstered my confidence, constantly questioning me and pushing me to think differently. She helped me to remove a few psychological barriers in order to focus on my strengths.

I feel very fortunate to have her support and that of the other women from my cohort - twenty one, women who came from different department’s right across government, all with different life and work experiences. Add this to the existing support that is available within the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and it’s been invaluable to me. I’ve sought advice and guidance from HR, my line manager, other senior manager’s right up to our CEO. Each and every one of them has willingly offered their time, help and advice whenever I sought it.

Crossing Thresholds has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, I still don’t have all the answers, but I have more confidence to ask questions and seek help and advice. It’s taught me to focus on my strengths and really think about what makes me tick. It’s highlighted to me how getting a good work-life home balance and looking after my wellbeing means I have the ability to focus and do a good job at work.

I’ve shouted about Crossing Thresholds to everyone who’ll listen to me and have shared my learning with other colleagues. My greatest achievement as a result of Crossing Thresholds is gaining a temporary promotion into my current role as a Strategy Support Manager, something I know I’ve achieved because of everything I’ve learnt over the last year.

Who knows where Crossing Thresholds will take me in the future, I’m now looking ahead at what courses I want to do next year."

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Vehicle Certification Agency

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