Shattering the glass ceiling: empowering the next generation of female business leaders

Posted on: Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Newark and Sherwood District Council is supporting the empowerment of female students through a coaching and mentorship programme organised by Newark College to pair experienced female business leaders with female students studying on an industry-based course.

The pilot scheme focuses on positive action under the Equality Act 2010 to help young women overcome certain barriers and improve representation in the workforce.

Female students participating in the scheme will enjoy a one-day course on confidence, communication and resilience, and business leaders who have signed up to become mentors will participate in a two-day leadership and management course. They will all come together for a meet and greet after the training courses, and students will be partnered with a business leader they feel they could benefit working with.  

Lauren Anthony, Senior Surveyor at Newark and Sherwood District Council jumped at the chance to help mentor a female student. She said: “I am very excited to be a part of this fantastic pilot scheme being run by Newark College. When Penny sent me an email inviting me to take part, I immediately knew I had to be a part of this! I am all for women supporting women, and I hope I can help guide my mentee as she embarks on this exciting journey of starting her career.

“I’m also hoping to learn something through the leadership and management course, and I’m sure these young women have a thing or two to teach us too!”

Councillor Rowan Cozens, Deputy Leader at Newark and Sherwood District Council said: “I am absolutely thrilled to see this brilliant pilot programme starting at Newark College and even more thrilled that Newark and Sherwood District Council are supporting it.

“Women still face huge barriers and challenges regarding career progression, equal pay, and even just getting our foot in the door. According to the International Labour Organisation, as of 2021, only 16% of women who have jobs are working in the industry; shockingly, this has decreased. Industry (electrical, automotive, plumbing, construction, multi-skills, etc.) is typically a male-dominated sector, and therefore, I firmly believe it is our role as experienced female leaders to help the younger generation navigate these challenges and empower them to continue the progression towards gender equality – we have come a long way; however, we have so much further to go until we well and truly smash that glass ceiling!

“I hope this pilot programme provides female students with a support network they can learn from and call upon as they begin their – what I am sure will be fantastic – careers.

“I want to thank Lauren at the District Council for agreeing to be a mentor, and I can’t wait to hear all about it! I am determined to roll out as many schemes as possible to support women and girls throughout the district; this is something extremely close to my heart.”

Penny Taylor MBE, Head of Newark Campuses, said: “As a college we are delighted to be able to offer this programme though funds from the SPF programme and this is the eighth course we have delivered free to local business leaders across Newark and Sherwood. Our aim is to produce a highly skilled and productive workforce and we want to provide all our students with as many opportunities as possible. We are excited to see our students flourish through the guidance of local business leaders.”