Teens inspired by businesswomen at university event

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Twelve businesswomen gave the girls advice at the event hosted by The Southern Co-operative, KPMG, Southampton Solent University and Business in the Community last Wednesday.

Thirty-six girls aged 14 and 15 from Oasis Academy Lords Hill, Woodlands Community College and Portchester Community School went to Southampton Solent University to meet the career women, who shared their experiences and worked with them to help them prepare for their own future careers.

The day included a speed networking session where the girls were able to ask the women how they built up their careers and a 
session looking at the skills that employers look for, as well looking at how 
their academic studies will support them in the world of work.

The event was organised by The Southern Co-operative through its school-business partnership programme managed by Business in the Community.

Kate Hibbert, local sourcing manager at The Southern Co-operative, said: ‘We had such a fantastic day and it was a humbling experience to talk to these girls.

‘I was an incredibly shy teenager and wouldn’t even pick up a phone, I hope to inspire kids who may be suffering from confidence issues to realise their full potential – and to feel the fear and do it anyway, to quote a famous book.’

Jane McMaster, assistant headteacher at Portchester Community School, said: ‘This kind of event is important as it enables young women to engage with successful females who inspire, motivate and 
reassure them about who they are and what they can achieve.

‘The experience will remain with them for a long time.’