Developer and Asset Manager, MEPC, is inspiring the next generation of females in Leeds, having hosted the first Wellington Place “Women of the Future’” event created alongside social enterprise, Ahead Partnership.
Welcoming 45 students from three different inner-city schools across Leeds, including: Leeds West Academy, John Smeaton Academy and Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School the event gave the young women the opportunity to meet inspirational female figures from businesses based at the Wellington Place development.
Working alongside Ahead Partnership, the event brought together representatives from businesses including Netpremacy, Mazars, Shulmans, Investec, BuroHappold Engineering, Willis Towers Watson, Equifax, The Crowne Plaza, Wates and Sainsburys.
Students were given the opportunity to meet business volunteers from all organisational levels, with interactive careers activities and workshops to encourage confidence in the workplace, communications skills and workplace etiquette. What’s more, with tours around contemporary workspaces such as the offices of Willis Towers Watson and Netpremacy, the students were able to pack a lot into their morning.
Research conducted on the day found that after taking part in the event 90 percent of students had a more positive perception of what an office environment was like.
Dominique Simcox, head of Customer Engagement at MEPC Wellington Place, said: “We’re in a very unique position, having the ability to bring together inspirational women from different, backgrounds, businesses and positions. We hope to engage with students at a time when they are considering their future careers.
“Working with the wider Leeds community is something we’re incredibly passionate about, and the feedback we’ve received from the event this morning was fantastic. We hope to run similar events in the future, with an extended programme, to bring further opportunities and experiences to the next generation of young people in Leeds.”
Helena Darby, environmental consultant at BuroHappold, said: “Having recently moved to the Wellington Place community, it’s been brilliant having the opportunity to be involved in events such as this one. There has been a lot of emphasis put on encouraging young women into STEM subjects, and we’re passionate about providing the local community with a more diverse range of role models in engineering and construction. We know from experience that diverse teams make better decisions; as such, we actively encourage interest in engineering at all levels and age groups.”
Jackie Danby, careers adviser at Leeds West Academy, said: “It’s been a fantastic day, and our students have learnt so much. Not only have they heard first-hand experiences from a range of different successful women in business but had the opportunity to experience a variety of office environments, something which they’d typically be unable to do. It really gives the students something to strive for and challenges their preconceptions of what a typical office environment is.”
Ahead Partnership is a Leeds-based social enterprise, helping to forge links between schools and the business community. Working with young people throughout the region, and further afield, the organisation focusses on raising aspirations, and helping to inspire career choices.