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Talking to Number 10 about young women and careers education

Last week, our chair Christine Hodgson attended an event at 10 Downing Street to celebrate International Women’s Day. Christine spoke to Ministers about the importance of inspiring young women and girls through careers education.  

Schools, colleges and employers play a vital role in making sure that talent pipelines are diverse – so we can make the most of the talents of young women in every industry. This is why I was proud to champion careers education at the Prime Minister’s International Women’s Day reception at No. 10 – and to celebrate the outstanding work underway across the country.

Giving young women information about different careers – and giving them opportunities to meet employers from all sorts of industries – helps challenge stereotypes that certain industries are ‘not for girls’. Our network has many brilliant schools and colleges who are undertaking significant work in this area – some who also attended the reception. These were Didcot Girls’ School, Glenmoor Academy, Mulberry School for Girls, Newport Girls High School Academy and Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School.

Didcot Girls’ School recently told us about how they’re challenging traditionally low-paid, low-skilled sectors, largely represented by women in the UK through their work placements programme. They’ve categorised their work experience placements in year 10 into ‘challenge’ and ‘non-challenge’ placements and have approached companies in ‘challenge sectors’ to provide more opportunities for their pupils. They’re part of the Oxfordshire Careers Hub - part of the OxLEP Enterprise Adviser Network – and work with other schools in the area collaboratively to improve careers guidance for young people in the area and develop good practice to share countywide.

Our network also has many businesses who share this mission. During National Careers Week, our Company celebrated the combined effort from Jacobs and Carmel College in the Tees Valley, who in partnership ensure that gender equality is at the core of the work they do. From this, we were lucky enough to help tell Katie and Rebecca’s stories – two young women who recently started Degree Apprenticeships in engineering. They were both inspired to pursue a career because engineering firm Jacobs went into their school and showed them what was possible. Katie reflected on her career opportunity in STEM, saying “it is especially important to me as I hope that I can help to inspire children, particularly young women like me, that there are great careers in engineering. And, to demonstrate to those that are now in the position I was four years’ ago that you can make anything happen”.

With this in mind, let’s persist in our mission to inspire and prepare young people for the world of work, to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to earn, learn and succeed.

No 10 downing street