Applications closed on 27th February 2015 and now a selected panel of mentors will choose 15 candidates, who will be announced at a special launch lunch on 20th March 2015 at The Savoy Hotel, London.
Commenting on the number and variety of the applications received, Fay Sharpe said: “I am delighted by this number of outstanding applications, it offers a great depth of talent for the inaugural year, and reflects the obvious need for programmes like Fast Forward 15. We were expecting a lot of graduates applying, but in actual fact we found that there were far more applications from corporate event professionals, middle management and under-26 year olds currently in employment from all sectors including: agency, corporate, venues. We’ve even received applications from some women who have been in the industry for more than 20 years, which is great.
“The demographic spread of the applications reinforces that it does not matter what age or level you are, everyone needs someone they can talk to about their aspirations, challenges and guidance on enhancing their career. My fellow mentors and I look forward to meeting with the 15 successful candidates on 20th March.”
The shortlisting process for FF15 has already begun, with some common themes being reflected across the board. Many women cited a lack of confidence in both their skill set and speaking publicly, a lack of self-belief and personal perception alongside doubting their own abilities. The quality of the candidates was however exceptional, with rich experience and strong talent reflected across the applications.
Candidates relished the opportunity to be mentored by the FF15 programme providing solid rationale of how the initiative would benefit them both personally and in a professional capacity.
Dr Kate Dashper, at the UK Centre for Events Management at Leeds Beckett University, is conducting a formal evaluation of Fast Forward 15, to help produce best practice guidelines for future mentoring programmes, aiming to help more women reach the top of the industry.
Dr Dashper said: "It's a really exciting programme and a great opportunity to produce robust evidence of the effectiveness of such a scheme. I'm looking forward to working with the mentors and mentees and assessing the extent to which mentoring programmes can help empower women at different stages of their careers."
A dedicated Fast Forward 15 Womens’ Network Forum is available to join on LinkedIn to foster discussion between mentors and mentees and establish relationships between interested parties. The group is open to all LinkedIn users and can be joined by visiting the Forum page.