Go with the flow

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.

What next? 

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