The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched Aspire2lead, a £1 million project that will focus on boosting women in the workforce. The new support programme was launched in partnership with The Opportunity Centre, Yorkshire in Business and Beyond 2030 to enable women to prosper in York and North Yorkshire.
Aspire2lead was launched last Monday, 8th March, to celebrate International Women’s Day. The project aims to support 80 SMEs and over 1000 individuals in employment and self-employment by offering them leadership, entrepreneurial training, career guidance, ambassador opportunities and return to work support. It is a vital programme for York and North Yorkshire given that gender inequality has persisted over the last few years, especially in regard to career progression and pay.
Despite all-male boards disappearing across FTSE companies, there are still fewer women than men occupying senior roles on boards. Moreover, women’s employment has been more negatively affected by the pandemic in comparison to men’s careers.
The project will also enable young women to pursue higher roles in businesses and organisations by developing senior women as ambassadors to encourage more female workers onto boards, governing bodies, and senior positions.
Sam Alexander, Chair of the LEP Skills and Employability Board, comments:
“At York & North Yorkshire LEP, we are passionate about encouraging the work of existing and emerging female talent in our region as we know our economy will be stronger by being inclusive and through leveraging this expertise. Collectively, we want to inspire women about the careers they can access whilst building career readiness. We are driven to tackle occupational “segregation”, where women are concentrated in occupations with poorer prospects, empowering them to prosper through progression into higher value and better paid job roles. We are thrilled to have Aspire-igen as a lead partner to realise this project and are excited to see this launched as part of International Women’s Day 2021.”
Aspire2lead Project Manager Lorna Watson added:
“Aspire2lead hopes to create a Yorkshire that prides itself on equality in the workplace by supporting women and SMEs to grow, develop and succeed. We need the support of all people to create a county-wide community that reaps the benefits of achieving parity between all genders”.
Aspire2lead is an exciting project that will give women who are investigating self-employment or want to own their own business a unique opportunity to get the right coaching in a new, exciting way. For further information, support, and resources for women in the workplace, you can visit our website’s dedicated page.