International Women's Day is a global day, designed to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality, which some of our Social Impact work is directed towards building aspirations in young girls and women. One such activity is a national online Work Insights Week which is organised by the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP).

SMBP is a charity that provides an innovative programme, bringing together large corporate organisations and professional sports clubs to remove barriers, develop skills and provide experiences to sixth form and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme helps build aspirations and inspire them to pursue a career in a profession that they may not have previously considered.

During 2021 some of our colleagues played virtual hosts to Year 11 students, delivering presentations and workshops on a range of legal and professional topics to inspire the young people who attended. This formed part of a national online Work Insights Week for students who live remotely and also a Bradford specific cluster, organised by the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP).

Megan attended the Bradford Cluster event we hosted in 2020. We caught up with her to find out why she joined the programme and how this has helped her since.

“Before I took part in the SMBP programme I knew I was interested in finance but had no solid plan on how I was going to get there. I was looking for a lot of insight and experience with businesses, which was what encouraged me to apply to the programme. 

“I developed plenty of skills throughout the week, which is why I would recommend taking part! I got the chance to network with professionals in my sector of interest, such as those at Provident Financial Group, to learn how they built their careers and what next steps were available to me.

“I really enjoyed taking part in group tasks and workshops based around the careers I’d wanted to learn more about while gaining confidence, self-branding skills, and some team working experience. I do think I came out of the programme feeling more prepared about where I could go from there. I’ve since mentioned my participation in the SMBP programme on my personal statement and job applications which I certainly think helped me to stand out through having the diverse experiences on my CV at a young age.

“After completing the programme I was accepted into a new sixth form college, taking up four A-Levels with the goal of a career in finance. I have since completed my A-Levels and moved to London for the university to study BSc Economics. When I applied, I thought it was a long shot, as I didn’t know anyone who had gone that far for university, if they’d gone at all and I was the first in my family to go. I worked for months on my application but it was worth it, I idolise living in London and making it into a top world university. When I received my A-Level grades and knew I’d been accepted, I was very proud, especially since I’d taught myself much content over the course of the pandemic which was stressful at times, but I’m very glad it paid off. 

“I’ve also completed a virtual internship with investment bank J.P.Morgan, and am now applying for a scholarship to undertake an academic research project in June 2022, which I am very excited about. I was also successful in securing a role for the SMBP Alumni Advisory Committee so I’m very pleased to be able to continue working with the charity and hopefully will help extend their outreach to many more, so others can have access to the same opportunities.”