Changing lives for the better through learning and work
Aspire2lead (A2L) is an exciting new project part-funded by the European Social Fund. The project aims to provide free support to women to boost their skills and confidence, achieve their potential and contribute to the growth of businesses in the York and North Yorkshire LEP Area. The Opportunity Centre is working in partnership with Beyond 2030 and Yorkshire In Business to deliver a range of services with a holistic approach for individuals and organisations to suit their needs and goals.
A2L offers group training and one-to-one support to employed/self-employed women to tackle specific barriers to progress and help them advance within the workforce. The project also supports SMEs to boost their productivity by adapting policies and procedures to improve inclusivity and attract and retain high-quality employees in their workforce. Schools, colleges and universities can also access influencer training which aims to encourage young women and girls to be ambitious and aim for senior leadership positions by tackling unconscious bias.
Find the services you or your organisation could access in the drop-down boxes below.
Please note, for individuals to be eligible, they must be in employment, have the right to live and work in the UK and be 19 years of age or above. SMEs must be able to prove that they have fewer than 250 employees to receive support.
Who can access these services?
The Women Leadership Training strand is delivered by Beyond 2030 and engages women at all levels within organisations. The programme includes workshops, group training, peer coaching, One-to-One mentoring and webinars. Topics available to help women to gain the tools and confidence to progress into senior positions in work include:
Women Returner Support
Women Returner Support is delivered by Anj Handa of Inspiring Women Changemakers, and directly focuses on delivering support to individuals by building and developing CVs to address potential gaps, upskilling individuals to reflect changing working practises, bringing them up to speed from their time away from work, providing personal development and giving support to build confidence and encourage professional networking. The strand is delivered through a series of training workshops and seminars.
Through our extensive networks, with support from YNY LEP and the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, we are looking to identify senior women to act as Ambassadors in York and North Yorkshire. The Our Women’s Ambassadors will champion and encourage women on to Boards, Governing Bodies and into Leadership positions. They will chair the Women’s Support Networks and contribute by offering hints and tips to women wanting to progress, as well as hosting specific discussions and forums to engage participants. The Ambassadors will also support in the development of a common purpose charter, working towards the creation of resources and reports to promote the appointment of women into senior positions.
Women’s Support Networks
All individuals on the Aspire2Lead project will be offered the opportunity to join appropriate support networks suited to their industry or interests. Our Ambassadors will chair these networks and offer advice, hints and tips to the individuals engaged in the networks. The network activities will be accessible through a number of media – video conferences, social media groups and pages, and in-person events.
The Aspiring Young Women strand targets employed young women aged 19-30, with a focus on helping them to aim higher in their career aspirations. Each training package is tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Training sessions are delivered by Anj Handa of Inspiring Women Changemakers. The objective is to support women in all levels of employment, to boost confidence, self-esteem and progress more women into management. The programme includes the following:
Delivered by Yorkshire in Business, the Women Entrepreneur strand of the programme aims to inspire the creation of new enterprises and to support the sustainment of existing enterprises. They are supporting employed or already self-employed women in business for approximately 3 months. The programme will work with these participants to start, develop and grow their own businesses by identifying and overcoming barriers to progress. The Yorkshire in Business team will support the individuals to develop bespoke solutions and identify innovative delivery methods for their business. In particular we look to develop female business owners and senior women who want to develop their careers in micro/SMEs around leadership and management focusing on strategy, growth and business scale up.
Yorkshire in Business aims to enhance personal development skills such as confidence and self-esteem; alongside those that are needed to successfully run businesses like financial planning, marketing and project management. Interventions are based on the needs and demands of the clients, and delivery is through their expert team of facilitators and coaches. A typical programme may include pre-programme personal and business needs analysis, four face to face workshops, six One-to-One acceleration coaching sessions, monthly webinars and access to online content.
Who can access these services?
Participants must have less than 250 employees.
Women Returnships works with SMEs to provide structured support for their female staff returning to work from a career break. We begin with an assessment of an SMEs Return to Work offer, identifying any gaps and areas for development. Best practice will then be identified that is appropriate for the business and a development of a Returnship programme will commence. Aspire2Lead will then support the implementation and evaluation of a programme to help returners to transition back into work. This programme will be tailored and flexible, potentially including adapting job roles to provide more flexibility, or offering part-time roles for staff returning after a career break.
Gender Pay Gap
Delivered by Beyond 2030, this service utilises their extensive research experience and builds on current gender pay gap analysis activities with larger organisations, to support SMEs in York and North Yorkshire in addressing their own gender pay gaps. SMEs undertake consultation and data collection from staff responsible for HR and strategy within the business once engaged. This identifies how the business deals with recruitment, promotion and staff development, and specific businesses challenges/barriers to reducing gender pay issues.
This research enables them to analyse and identify any gender pay gaps, alongside specific issues that can be addressed. A joint action planning approach will then be taken with the SME , which will incorporate good practice from businesses in the same sector.
The action plan can include:
The Organisational Transformation strand supports SMEs to understand how their current practices can be adapted to benefit their organisation by supporting women to progress. The self-assessment process encourages organisations to evaluate their business, to examine and understand the impact of their working practices and environment on recruitment, retention, and progression of women. The range of evaluation can include:
Following the outcomes of assessment, a tailored approach is taken, working closely with the HR department of the organisation to create an action plan to tackle areas requiring adjustment or improvement.
The Sponsorship Programme supports SMEs to design, run and embed sponsorship programmes which link senior male colleagues with junior female colleagues to champion their progression within the business. We encourage SMEs to link with other businesses to share best practice and provide peer support for sponsorship. We will work with businesses using the research we have undertaken and tailor the programme to suit them as appropriate. We will:
Delivered by Beyond 2030, the Tackling Gender Stereotypes programme targets SMEs in male-dominated sectors such as Construction, Technical, IT/Communications and Science and businesses. They also focus on specific growing industries in York and North Yorkshire which are typically male dominated such as bio-renewables, agri-tech, manufacturing and engineering. These industries may have a concentration of women at lower pay grades but senior positions are skewed towards men. In this strand, Beyond 2030 will undertake consultations and collect data from staff responsible for HR and strategy within businesses and groups of businesses.
This research will allow the analysis and identification of any issues, barriers, or opportunities regarding Gender Stereotyping amongst SMEs in the region. This information forms a joint action planning approach with the, which incorporates sharing good practice both globally and from the other project participants. The action plan includes:
The Influencer Training aims to encourage young women and girls to be ambitious and aim for senior leadership positions, by tackling unconscious bias. Training is targeted at teaching and support staff and adapted to suit audiences from schools, colleges and universities.
Our training provides a background and insight into unconscious bias and how it impacts women and young girls. It includes careers resources, LMI, lesson plans that challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations, hints and tips on
inviting senior women into their establishment to share their experiences and activities for teachers, employers and students to get involved with. Staff receive a training package and ‘train the trainer’ workshops demonstrating how
the packages and resources can be used in different ways and adapted to suit different target audiences i.e. girls interested in STEM, from different cultures and for different academic abilities.
We also address the influences of parents and carers. We provide CPD resources and teaching aids (LMI/CEIAG) to deliver outputs across the full geographic area – delivering innovative and thought provoking CPD provision to educators and practitioners in Primary, Secondary, Special, Colleges and HEI’s. Lastly, we provide information to parents and carers of girls and young women – challenging gender bias, gender stereotyping, misinformation and misconceptions – allowing us to build a platform for change across some of our most disadvantaged districts.
Staff members – Schools, Colleges and Universities can put forward a number of their staff members to access the whole Aspire2Lead service. See Services for individuals section.
ASPIRE-IGEN GROUP LTD
The Opportunity Centre
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0330 111 0035
Company number: 3037445
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