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Exeter’s Inspiring Girls programme has bright future after securing funding

Published: 1 September 2021

Inspiring Girls into business Inspiring Girls programme

An inspirational mentoring service aimed at furthering the career aspirations of girls in Exeter has secured funding thanks to the generosity of a local business.

Following the successful pilot programme of Inspiring Girls (Exeter) earlier this year, the project team have announced they have secured funding from the Howmet Foundation to support the programme for the next two academic years.

The funding ensures that the mentoring programme will be complemented with extra workshops and activities will be able to be offered to a wider cohort of students.

Cllr Rachel Sutton said:  “Exeter City Council is incredibly proud to be co-ordinating this valuable programme that is supporting girls in year 9 in our secondary schools.

“Through the pilot we have seen girls that have firmed up their career plans and explored different options with their mentor which is really encouraging. The funding from the Howmet Foundation will enable us to support more girls over the next two years.”

Sarah Abrahams, local business woman and founder of Inspiring Girls (Exeter), said: “The results of our pilot for Inspiring Girls Exeter have been very positive, with benefits gained by the girls who were mentored as well as the mentors themselves.

“Stronger links have been forged between the business women and the schools who have taken part, which will create sustainable impact.

“Inspiring Girls (Exeter) has also been awarded much needed funding from Howmet Aerospace which is fantastic news. This funding, and a growing group of inspiring women keen to support, has secured the programme for a further two years, enabling us to expand to include more girls and schools in Exeter and surrounding area.”

She added: “The success so far is down to the effective collaboration between Exeter City Council, the HOTSW Careers Hub, the schools and the business community. I would like to pass on a huge thank you to all involved and looking forward to hearing more success stories in the future.”

Nicola Acton, of Howmet Exeter, said: “Howmet Aerospace Foundation invests in STEM and technical education and workforce development initiatives, with an emphasis on increased access to STEM fields for underrepresented individuals.

“It is the independently endowed charitable arm of Howmet Aerospace and invests in communities where Howmet Aerospace has a corporate or business presence.

“Following on from a Covid-related grant with Exeter City Council last year, this year Howmet Aerospace Exeter are delighted to be working with the Council again, this time on the Inspiring Girls Mentoring Programme, which is a STEM based Project with a grant of approximately £61,000.”

The Inspiring Girls (Exeter) project works with eight secondary schools in the Exeter area and offers a mentoring programme to girls in year 9 (aged 13-14), with the mentoring provided by a wide range of businesswomen from across the Exeter area.

Through a structured mentoring programme they are able to explore the girls’ passions and aspirations for the future.

From the pilot programme one of the participants has been supported to sign up for the Army after exploring her future career aspiration with her mentor, Nicola Churchward of WA Consultants.

Nicola said:  “Being part of the Inspiring Girls programme I was teamed up with an amazing young lady.  We had some great conversations about her interests and future aspirations.

“During the programme we talked about numerous future plans and from this I was able to support her to explore a career in the Army.  We lined her up with the local Army careers office and I supported her on her visit to meet with them.”

For anyone interested in supporting the programme as a mentor can email Rosie Bates at or call 07874 641 545.

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