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Inspiring Girls into business

Published: 26 January 2021

Inspiring Girls into business Inspiring Girls into business

Young girls across Exeter are being inspired into the workplace through an exciting new project.

Exeter City Council and the Heart of the South West Careers Hub have launched the Inspiring Girls programme designed to get more young women into industry and break down gender stereotypes.

The HotSW Careers Hub is proud to be involved in Inspiring Girls (Exeter).  This innovative programme highlights the benefits of the private and public sector working together to prepare young people for life beyond education.  Providing girls with access to structured support and guidance from an inspirational and committed group of women will increase their confidence and enable them to explore and recognise their full potential.

The businesswoman behind the idea – Sarah Abrahams of M&S Bank – wanted to support a programme that would encourage girls to think broadly about the career and job opportunities open to them in the future, and to particularly focus on those girls that might not necessarily have a support structure in place to guide, advise and inspire them.

Sarah has worked closely with the Council and Careers Hub to put together a programme of mentoring and other activities to support a cohort of girls in Year 9 from secondary schools in and around Exeter.

Sarah said, “Without doubt gender diversity across industries has made progress, but research shows that young girls are still limiting their aspirations based on gender stereotypes. 

It is very exciting that this programme will help local girls build connections to a wide range of female role models in the Exeter area. The activities bring to life different options and I’m sure will inspire new choices for the girls. The energy and enthusiasm from all involved has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to hearing what the girls think.”

The programme has gained great support from over 50 business women across the city who have signed up to mentor a girl, deliver a workshop, or provide experience of the workplace. These women come from a range of businesses across the private and public sector, and the programme will aim to share as many of their experiences with the girls as possible.

In addition, the girls will also benefit from a five-day confidence building workshop sponsored and delivered by Next Steps South West to help them overcome barriers of low self-esteem and anxiety.

Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor responsible for the Skills Agenda, said: “This has been a long time in the planning, with the first cohort of mentors inducted almost 12 months ago. Unfortunately, the pandemic and resulting ‘lockdown’ situations delayed the programme but thankfully due to modern technology, everyone is now ready and raring to go. It promises to be an exciting project.”

People can view Sarah’s introduction video on Youtube Inspiring Girls Welcome Video - YouTube along with videos from a range of the mentors involved Inspiring Girls - YouTube

To follow the progress of the programme, visit LinkedIn

Anyone who would like to get involved as a mentor, should contact Rosie Bates –

Zoom call

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