Arthur and Glyn originally met at the Aircraft Maintenance Academy many years ago. Whilst they aren’t part of the same team, their ‘work’ paths have crossed a number of times throughout their careers and today they credit each other with providing invaluable listening and support through difficult times.

Man uses phone leaning against kitchen worktop They often called and messaged each other to talk through how they were feeling, and when they were both at their lowest it enabled them to speak up freely about how they were coping at that time. The regular check-ins made them both feel so much better despite still having to deal with life's ups and downs. 

During this time, they also started to witness the struggles other male colleagues in their team were having and realised that this was a bigger issue than they first thought. Males in general, seemed to be finding it much harder to ask for help when they were struggling.

Arthur and Glyn learnt how to spot the signs of colleagues struggling and found themselves listening and supporting more and more men going through difficult times. Just being there and listening proved beneficial. This is when the GENts forum idea was born.

Running monthly since 2021, the agenda is a mix of open forum and guest speakers, where callers can talk about everything from hobbies to their own life experiences. The forums are informal and anyone dialling in can participate as little or as much as they wish. People can even join anonymously, if they prefer to do so.
 
Arthurs said:
“The topics we’ve spoken about are always open and we’ve really built a level or trust and friendship in the group.” 
 
Although the group aims to get men together to talk, it is actually open to all. One of the most recent topics being discussed is around prostate cancer and it’s a topic which resonated for a much wider demographic than the group’s main target audience.
 
We wanted to try and help break down some of the stigma and embarrassment associated with health issues like prostate cancer, and we know there’s been some women benefited from these sessions too." Arthur, Co-Founder of GENts

"They’ve come back to us afterwards and said how they felt they could better understand, support or encourage the men in their lives that might be dealing with the issue of prostate cancer too after hearing the issue discussed so openly. “

And it seems the response from those taking part in the sessions more generally has been really positive too. Glyn added:
“Numerous people have shared their thanks with us for setting up the project and have said how much they value the session and look forward to it each month.”

The great work the pair have done in creating the GENts forum has not gone unnoticed as they recently received a Business Leader Award in our Company’s global recognition programme. 

As for the future of the GENts programme, Arthur and Glyn have ambitions to see the programme grow and develop into something that could be adopted by BAE Systems globally.
Group of business people in office cafeteria drinking coffee whilst talking to each other
The participants we’ve had so far have said themselves that they see GENts as that safe space where they feel they can open up without any fear of judgement or ridicule, which is exactly what Arthur and I aimed for when we set GENts up. Glyn, Co-Founder of GENts
 
 
"So whilst it’s really gratifying to know that we’re having an impact in that way, we think there’s still room for this to grow, so that others, in other parts of the business can also benefit from the experience and support, and that’s what we hope to work towards.”
 
GEN
Supporting Gender Equality

Image showing the GEN logo
The Gender Equity Network (GEN) is for all employees who believe everyone should be given the opportunity and support to succeed in their career, regardless of gender. The ultimate goal is to no longer be needed because gender barriers and biases will have been broken down in the workplace.
 
Find out more

GENts explained

GENts Forum
Gender Equality Network talking socially

Founded by two BAE Systems colleagues, Arthur from BAE Systems Air and Glyn from BAE Systems Shared Services; the GENts Forum is a monthly dial in support session.
 
Although primarily aimed at being a safe space for men to talk openly about issues affecting them. Anyone (from any gender) can actually join the informal dial ins which discuss everything from hobbies to health issues and personal stresses. They can even do so anonymously if they wish.
 
The group acts as a conduit to sign post other support services/groups, both in BAE Systems or wider afield, and wants to help break the taboo surrounding men talking about emotions and asking for help.