Women in Rail Mentoring Program 2020

About the program

The ARA Women in Rail Mentoring Program is a six-month program designed to support, guide and retain women currently employed in the rail industry through professional and leadership development and to expand their industry knowledge. Following the successful pilot program in 2019, the ARA decided to continue the program in 2020.

Mentoring is a key activity of the ARA Women in Rail Strategy aimed to provide an opportunity for information sharing and career development. The ‘e-mentoring’ format enables mentors and mentees from different organisations, cities and states to communicate online at their convenience to provide broader opportunities for growing networks and the cross-fertilisation of ideas throughout industry, benefiting rail as a whole. 

120 representatives of the following organisations have been accepted for the program in 2020:


Arc Infrastructure, ARTC, Arup, Aurecon, BHP, Coleman Rail, CPB Contractors, Downer, Gemco Rail, GHD, Inland Rail, Jacobs, John Holland Group, Keolis Downer, Laing O'Rourke, MTM, NSW TrainLink, Qtectic, Queensland Rail, Rio Tinto, Siemens Mobility, SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit, Strukton Rail Australia, Sydney Trains, Thales, Training Ahead Australia, Transdev Wellington, Transport for NSW, V/Line, VicTrack and WSP


Alium Works, ARTC, Arup, Aurecon, BHP, Bombardier Transportation Australia, CPB Contractors, Department of Transport Victoria, Downer, GE Transportation, a Wabtec Company, Infrastructure Advisory Group, Inland Rail, Jacobs, John Holland Group, Laing O'Rourke, Lendlease, McConnell Dowell, Metro Trains Melbourne, NSW TrainLink, Pacific National, Queensland Rail, Rio Tinto, Sydney Trains, Systra, Transdev Sydney, Transport for NSW, UGL, V/Line, WSP and Yarra Trams

Recognising the importance of connecting our industry during COVID-19, the ARA is expanding the capacity of the ARA Women in Rail Mentoring program to accommodate 60 pairs instead of the planned 40. The fees for mentees have also been reduced to $350 to acknowledge the financial pressures being experienced by rail organisations during this time. The initial face-to-face event will be rescheduled and participants will be notified accordingly.


How the ARA Women in Rail Mentoring Program works >>
Mentoring Program Code of Conduct >>
Program Information Webinar slides>>


Participants of the 2019 Women in Rail Mentoring program at the close event in Sydney.
Benefits of the program

For Mentees:

  • Engagement with knowledgeable and experienced rail professionals
  • Guidance and support regarding workplace matters and career development
  • Enhancing leadership skills and capability
  • Excellent networking opportunities
  • Receiving feedback and developmental guidance
  • Identifying professional growth opportunities
  • Support with career planning in the rail industry
  • Goal setting
  • Gaining new perspectives

For Mentors:

  • Satisfaction in helping others
  • Contributing back to the profession
  • Supporting industry future leaders
  • Staying abreast of emerging issues relevant to the profession
  • Further development of mentoring skills such as listening, asking questions, guiding, providing feedback, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Gaining new perspectives
  • Developing business networks
  • Engaging with mentees in different organisations, sectors of the industry and locations around Australia and New Zealand

Please note: The program is not aimed at directly securing job opportunities for mentees, however will aim to facilitate longer term career progression as an indirect result.

Program capacity

Up to 60 pairs will be selected in 2020. 


Indication of the time commitment for mentors and mentees:
Activity Approx. length
Training, reading and webinars About 3 days in total
Preparation and time spent in mentoring conversations & follow-ups 1-2 hours per month
Program surveys 1/2 hours in total
Key dates:


Approx. date

Applications Open

29 January 2020 TBC

Program Information Webinar 14 February 2020

Applications Close

6 March 2020

Matching Pairs, Confirmation to Participants

10 April 2020

Program Launch Webinar

27 April 2020

Program Networking Event TBC

Program Progress Review Webinar

August 2020

Completion of the Program

27 October 2020

Who can participate as a mentee?
  • The program is open to females who have been employed by an ARA member organisation for not less than 24 months on the date of the application
  • Mentee nominations are sought through ARA member organisations only
  • Mentees are required to obtain approval from their employer to participate in the Mentoring Program and the Program Launch Event (TBC). Employers are asked to cover the program cost of their nominated mentee at $350 (incl. GST) as well as their travel expenses to attend the Program Launch Event
  • Interested candidates are to submit an application specifying area of interest/potential outcomes as well as responses to other questions for consideration by the ARA and Women in Rail Advisory Committee (WiRAC)
  • The selection committee will seek to ensure a spread of mentees from a variety of ARA member companies, and the most suitable match
  • A mentee can be paired with a mentor of either gender - this is to acknowledge the role of male champions of change
Who can participate as a mentor?
  • Either gender
  • Rail professionals with career experience greater than 10 years (this includes rail and non-rail experience)
  • Employment with an ARA member organisation is mandatory
  • Champions of diversity
  • A passion to see people reach their full potential
  • Good reputation for values and conduct
  • Proven excellent communication skills, with an ability to challenge and encourage mentees and enhance their professional development
  • Personable and outcomes focused
  • High achievers
  • Located anywhere in Australia and New Zealand
  • Capacity to commit time (as per the table on page 4) and attend the Program Launch event in person
Program Fees

Please note that travel costs to attend the launch event are not included in either case.

  • Mentors: Free
  • Mentees: $350 (Incl. GST). This includes participation in the program, the launch event and webinars, as well as supporting resources
Application Process

Mentees and mentors will be asked to complete an application form to assess their eligibility for the program and to collect details about what they are looking for in a mentoring partner. To ensure quality and integrity of the program, applications will be reviewed by the ARA Women in Rail Advisory Committee and selected applicants will progress to the matching process.


Please contact the ARA with any enquiries via programs@ara.net.au