a true INSPIRATION

The 'Inspiring Women' Campaign stopped off in SE1 to talk to girls about their career potential
St Saviours & St Olaves Girls School London New Kent Road

St Saviour’s & St Olave’s School for Girls

st Saviour’s & St Olave’s, an inner city Church of England school for girls aged 11-18, has an excellent track record of academic success and of preparing students for top universities and careers. Headteacher Catherine May recently recognised the opportunity to give her students a day that they wouldn’t soon forget.

On 12th November the Editor of British Vogue magazine, Alexandra Shulman and Miriam González Durántez, Partner at law firm Dechert LLP and wife of the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, took part in what was called a ‘Speed Networking Event’. Nineteen other successful women and 100 girls also took part in the event, held at St Saviour’s & St Olave’s Girls School, on the New Kent Road.

The aim of the event, part of the ‘Inspiring Women’ campaign, was to demystify the ever popular fashion industry and show the wide range of roles to which young girls today can aspire – from design, to manufacturing, to marketing, to retail. It was an opportunity for the girls to look behind the glitz and glamour to see the real jobs that were available – and achievable – to those who were enterprising enough.

St Saviours & St Olaves Girls School London New Kent Road Inspiring Women Students Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman Miriam González Durántez
In October in 2013, the Education and Employers Task Force launched their ‘Inspiring Women’ campaign, which aimed to get a number of high profile female role models to encourage a younger generation of girls to aim for as prolific a career as they can. Since then, over 11,500 women have volunteered, and they are close to reaching their target of 15,000 women from a range of occupations and backgrounds.

The Education and Employers Task Force is a registered charity that was founded in October 2009 with the aim of ‘ensuring that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers to provide its young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential and so to secure the UK’s future prosperity’. A bold mission indeed, but one that is still growing ever stronger, especially with the Inspiring Women campaign.

Although it is a nationwide campaign, Inspiring Women has recently hit a little closer to home after their journey brought them to SE1. The event was also an opportunity for the campaign to encourage many other women to join and pledge ‘one hour a year to talk to girls’ at a nearby school or workplace about their life experience, job and career route.

“This is the perfect opportunity to tell the girls about jobs they might not know existed

Women’s fashion is truly being seen as a force for good (don’t forget about the Design Museum’s ‘Women Fashion Power’ exhibition), and so it seems that the time is right to really drive home the message that the industry isn’t restricted to those with special privileges, and is one that anyone can be a part of, so long as they are motivated to put in the dedication that it requires.

Shulman, one of the career speed networkers said: “The opportunities for working in the fashion industry are huge but it’s often hard to find out about them. This is the perfect opportunity for people who work not only in the high profile side of the business but in some of the lesser known spheres to tell the girls about jobs they might not know existed or how they would pursue them. The industry has a relatively high proportion of female talent and hopefully this event will be inspiring for the pupils who are wondering what career they might have, and how to take the first steps.”

St Saviours & St Olaves Girls School London New Kent Road Inspiring Women Students Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman Miriam González Durántez

Vogue Editor Alexandra Schilman (far right) led an inspiring day for the students

Catherine added: “Working with ‘Inspiring Women’ is a perfect match for our school. We have students who are ambitious and teachers who help them achieve their potential. This event is a unique experience, one that I’m sure will last long in our memories and may well change some lives!”

If you are or know a woman that would like to dedicate an hour of her time to speak to young girls about their profession, then visit: www.inspiringthefuture.org

St. Saviours & St. Olaves School
New Kent Road
SE1 4AN
t: 020 7407 1843
w: www.ssso.southwark.sch.uk

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