Organisations empowering Diversity and Inclusion through Mentoring

According to “Sun Microsystems implemented a mentoring programme. Mentors were six times more likely to be promoted than those not in the programme. Mentees were five times more likely to achieve a promotion. Mentees were five times more likely to receive an increase in pay than those who did not participate. Mentors have had even greater success in this area. The retention rate for staff not involved in the programme was 49%. This contrasts with 69% for mentors and 72% for mentees.”

I decided to look at some of the incredibly successful companies in Ireland that are empowering Diversity and Inclusion in Ireland today:

The Willing and Able Mentoring (WAM) programme is designed to give access to the labour market for graduates with at least a level 8 degree and have a disability. Ahead then work with a range of businesses (some of whom you can see in this image) to provide paid work placements for a minimum of six months for these graduates. Graduates are only allowed 2 placements through the WAM programme. All successful graduates are given a mentor upon starting in the organisation that hires them, to ease their transition into the company and answer any questions the new employee may have. According to their website “he WAM Programme has provided over 550 placements for graduates with disabilities”

Business In The Community has several different employment programmes to cater for different underrepresented groups in employment, and the common themes are improving candidates’ lack of interview preparation and understanding of Irish standards when preparing CV and Cover Letter. guidance, work experience opportunities and issues around stigmas of certain groups. These programmes include :

  • EPIC a FREE employment programme that can help you integrate migrants to Ireland into Irish society by overcoming some of the most common barriers when looking for work or education 
  • Ready for Work, helps people with disabilities and health challenges and provides guidance, work experience and in-work support.
  • The Women@Work programme supports women to return to the work force or enter it for the first time by connecting with businesses. It provides a next step for women who have already participated in existing high quality employability programmes but who have not yet found suitable employment.

The Traveller Employment Programme supports Travellers to gain and sustain meaningful work over the long term.

Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) – Digital Futures

According to their website “Digital Futures is a programme developed to raise students’ awareness of the diverse nature of career opportunities in the technology sector and promote STEM careers throughout Ireland. The programme consists of an interactive presentation designed to be delivered in secondary schools and is ideally suited for Transition year students (Age 15-18), before they choose their Leaving Cert subjects. However, it may also be of interest to 5th and 6th year students who are considering their CAO choices. A number of CWIT member companies and partners deliver this programme across Ireland, reaching in excess of 4,000 students each year.”

Fighting Words is a registered charity. Created by Seán Love and author Roddy Doyle, Fighting Words is empowering young people and adults to embrace their creativity and creative writing skills. As part of the Fighting Words participants are paired with mentors in their chosen creative field so that they can advise and improve the participants creative output.

Founded in 1952 Fóroige is one of Ireland’s oldest social enterprises. According to their website “Foróige currently operates in 26 counties in Ireland, with more than 600 Foróige Clubs, 150 Youth Projects, the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programme, the Foróige Youth Entrepreneurship programme, our Youth Citizenship and Youth Leadership programmes”. 

An Irish-funded start-up that specialises in providing free mentoring services to graduates and those intending to graduate. Through the programme they run the grads, receive a mentor from one of the fastest growing companies in the technology sector in ireland. They then work with the companies on their books to find the correct roles and companies for the grads on their service to join. In 2021 The Clune Group invested €2 million according to Silcone republic and they have since been acquired by UK tech company Native for an undisclosed amount

Created by Google, I Am Remarkable is a mentoring programme designed to increase recruitment of underrepresented groups in the workplace. Through their workshops, participants learn how to build self confidence, promote themselves, and network with like-minded individuals so that they can pursue their career goals wherever they may be.

INSPIRE mentoring for young people aged 18-25 the majority are first generation to get to college and have no professional role/modes. We use an online platform to allow them to select a mentor for them. We are an NFO and INSPIRE is funded by LinkedIn, IYF, Rethink, and Coca-Cola. We currently work with over 300 young people.

We’re are always looking for mentors, if you or anyone in your network is interested in joining please let us know

MentorHer’s website states that “six-week online mentorship programme, where we support women in corporate careers, entrepreneurship and self-development. First, Mentors and Mentees are matched and connected together with our tried-and-tested 98% effective Matching technique behind the scenes. Week One is all about introductions: to the programme, to your Match, to our resources. Then, for six weeks- for one hour a week- Mentors and Mentees meet privately on Zoom/phone/Teams at a time that suits them. All women in our programme are supported by weekly material in a choice of four categories: networking calls, live Q and As and workshops, alongside in-person networking events and small group dinners.”

In a first for Ireland in October 2021 TU Dublin ran a self-employment course designed for people with disabilities who want to become self employed. Professor Tom Cooney and his team  in TU Dublin designed the course so that more people with disabilities can become entrepreneurs and gain the skills and tools to do so. The course will run over weeks and students will be assessed on their overall business plan at the end of the course. The 2022 students were recently announced.

Our mentorship programme’s goal is to help people from marginalised communities to meet their full potential for further education or employment. Our mentors can serve as role models and share experiences while helping to support you on your employment pathway or further education goals. Our mentoring program will offer guidance and support from professionals to:

– Identify your learning needs and development goals

– Help build “job readiness” skills

– Identify further education opportunities The programme will last three to six months and will consist of six individual sessions of one hour each.

The programme will last three to six months and will consist of six individual sessions of one hour each. Our mentoring program relationships are based on trust, confidentiality and mutual respect.

All mentees need to undertake our training session in advance to understand the full scope of what is involved, the format of the mentorship relationship and their commitment required to have a successful result. Once this training is complete, participants will be matched with a mentor who brings a wealth of experience in a variety of professional fields to their roles as advisors and supporters. The training session will last approximately 45 minutes and is mandatory for all participants. We deliver this training session monthly. For more information visit

Teen-Turn aims to provide teen girls, particularly those from underserved areas, the opportunity to gain hands-on STEM experience so that they can visualize themselves in those kinds of careers and therefore make third level course choices accordingly. Through after school activities, work placements, mentoring, and alumnae networking and career development programming, we now support 1000+ girls from “Junior Cert to Job”. More women with STEM qualifications, particularly those from disadvantaged and  underrepresented communities, would affect employment rates, economic growth, and fulfill the demand for skills needed by companies that is currently outpacing supply. Yet teens often struggle to imagine what life might be like after university–at the very time they are making third level qualification choices. Teen-Turn provides girls the opportunity to experience what a career in STEM could be.

Launched in 2021, The B!G Idea was created by Kim Mackenzie-Doyle with a vision to challenge Ireland’s 15-19 year olds to learn new skills that would help them create ideas for solving problems in their local schools or communities. The 12-week programme looks at all areas of creativity. In 2022 over 2500 young people from Transition Year, LCA and Youthreach have experienced The B!G Idea, supported by 501 industry mentors and 40+ corporate and third level partners. 

The 12 week programme develops game-changing, creative thinking skills in students, bringing problem solving, resilience, empathy, critical thinking, research, communication and collaboration to 15 to 19 year olds at a time when it can make the BIGGEST difference. It provides an empowering space for young people to learn creative skills, a space where failure is expected and encouraged. We connect education to industry through active mentoring for student teams with professionals based nationally and internationally. We move the creative innovation dial forward, giving our young people every advantage in any future direction they take. 

Because one big idea can change their world.

Reboot Programmes are designed to train and upskill women who have been out of work (for a variety of reasons) so that they can then reenter the workforce. An initiative by Technology Ireland Software Skillnet the project is funded by Skillnet Ireland, and according to their website “We have trained over 200 women to date who now work with many blue chip companies such as DELL, Optum Technologies and Version 1.” 

Recently rebranded from Dress For Success, Work Equal is a Not For Profit designed to give women from underprivileged backgrounds bigger chances at landing a job. The company was originally set up to give women access to clothes for interviews so that they can give themselves a better chance of getting the job. Now the company also has job coaching and a network of companies where prospective women can avail of it if they want to join or rejoin the workforce.

  • Image Consulting
  • Mentoring
  • Work Preparedness (CV writing, interview skills etc)
  • Job Readiness
  • Support in the workplace environment

Young Social Innovators (YSI) is a non-profit organisation that empowers young people to use their talents, insights, passion and creativity to come up with innovative solutions to social challenges. Through fun and engaging programmes facilitated by trained educators, students are supported to create team-based action-projects on issues they care about, putting their innovative ideas into action to bring about positive social change for the benefit of people, communities and the environment.” For twenty years, Young Social Innovators has been giving young people a voice and agency on the issues that matter to them and preparing them for a changing world by giving them a sense of control over how that world is shaped – into one that is more caring, equal and fair.