You can’t be what you can’t see: helping all girls find role models to succeed

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Connecting our communities, Social investment, Youth engagement

Conversations with professionals and experience in workplaces is the single most effective intervention at changing stereotypical expectations about future careers.

Helping young people understand the job opportunities available to them is something we’re passionate about at the City & Guilds Foundation. That’s why we’re proud to support The Girls’ Network, a charity that matches female mentors from non-graduate pathways with girls from the least advantaged communities in the UK.

So far, the charity has developed 100 partnerships as a direct result of City & Guilds Foundation funding – up from 18 last year, and over their original target. Teacher feedback has been very positive; interest in apprenticeships has risen by 34%, and we’re also seeing evidence that girls from the network are starting on some great new career pathways.

Silvia’s story

Silvia was suffering from a lack of confidence and mental health issues before her GCSE exams, which led to her taking a lot of time off school.

Silvia got connected with Lorna – a trainer in the People Development Team at Clarion Housing. Lorna helped Silvia get through this difficult time and communicated with the school about what Silvia needed, which helped to turn her Year 11 around.

Silvia began to attend school much more and made great progress with English coursework, earning her target grade of a B in English Literature. She is now applying for a Health & Social course at college and with Lorna’s support is organising work experience at a hospital.

‘We had found that some students, perhaps those from more affluent backgrounds, could easily arrange to visit a publisher, or a dentist surgery, through family or friendship connections.  But there was a very large cohort who didn’t have access to that secondary industry, to role models or the expectation that this was a world they could be involved in. The Girls’ Network offered a doorway they could walk through with someone supporting them. I’m evangelical about The Girls’ Network.’ 

Kuljit Rahelu, Headteacher of Hornsey School for Girls, London

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