Frances Woodgate has found a route to realising her ambitions
What is Fluid?
Fluid mentors under-represented groups in the construction industry. It aims to promote diversity and keep those individuals by helping them identify opportunities for career progression.
Why did you want to take part?
I found myself questioning what my next step would be, having been a project architect for five years. I heard about the programme through a discussion at a construction awards event. I thought I would really benefit from an independent perspective: I had a goal in mind, but it seemed unattainable, as it involved a lot of work out of hours.
Has it fulfilled your expectations?
Fluid gave me the support and guidance I was hoping for. My mentor, James, suggested I break my goal into stages to make it more manageable around my office work and volunteer commitments. His specialist background in conservation made him a perfect mentor for me, as I work almost exclusively on heritage projects. His advice was invaluable as it boosted my confidence and encouraged me to commit to positively my goal.
Following the happy distraction of my wedding, focus has returned to my goal, completing an application for conservation accreditation. I am passionate about working with built heritage and that will enable me to take on more responsibility and progress to a senior level. I have been inspired by personal accounts from other Fluid participants, and decided to re-enrol as a mentor. It would be really rewarding to offer the kind of support I have had; no doubt I will learn valuable insights from them in the process, which could make me a better colleague and manager.
Fluid is run by the RIBA’s ‘Architects for Change’ forum and the Construction Industry Council. www.fluidmentoring.org.uk