Routes runs mentoring programmes with a difference, born from and built around three core insights:

1. Businesses must invest more in their female leaders.

Only 22% of senior roles in UK businesses are held by women. Five years after graduation the gender gap widens, as 14% more men than women enter middle management for the first time.

2. Being a mentor is a proven to help women develop leadership and communication skills…

…as well as patience, compassion and self-confidence, all qualities of great leaders.

3. A third of those seeking asylum in Britain are women.

Asylum seekers receive £35 a week and do not have the right to work, leaving many isolated. Once refugee status is granted, waiting lists for English classes can be up to two years, and once a place is offered it is not guaranteed that childcare will be provided. Starting a new life when your English is poor, your confidence is low and you have no connections or networks is incredibly challenging.

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Being a Routes mentor was incredibly rewarding. Yes, it was challenging at times and you need to be patient and flexible but if you are, you will get as much out of it as the person you’re supporting.
— Michelle Isme, Freelance Service Designer

How it works:

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1. We pair women in business with refugee & asylum seeking women.

This is a four month mentoring programme with real mutual benefits: mentees are supported to identify and achieve a set of tangible goals, whilst mentors become better, more compassionate communicators and leaders.

2. We train our mentors in communication & leadership skills.

Our mentors receive 14 hours of high quality training, before having the chance to put their new skills directly into practice across ten hours with their mentees. Continuous learning and reflection is supported throughout the programme by the Routes team.

3. We deliver real impact for our mentees, mentors & their organisations.

100% of mentors have become more confident in their mentoring ability and listening skills. Over 60% say they are more patient and compassionate, making them better leaders.

100% of mentees find the programme ‘very helpful’ or ‘helpful’ and have gained new skills, opportunities, confidence or a new friendship.


Past mentors have joined us from

Past mentors

Routes was an eye-opening experience for me. 10 weeks with my mentee taught me a lot about the political environment we live in, situations women face across the world, and the bureaucracy surrounding immigration. However, it also taught me about finding joy in little things, the importance of friends wherever you are in the world, and the healing properties of music and laughter.
— Doniya Soni, Principal Policy Officer, Greater London Authority