We’re big fans of young people being inspired, putting their minds to something, and getting it done. And that’s why when we heard about what 19-year-old Lucy Paine has been up to we simply had to sit down and write something.
Lucy dropped out of sixth form after just three weeks and took a job at New Look, then another job at Lloyds TSB before getting a place on the Telefónica apprenticeship scheme. 18 months later she’s halfway through her apprenticeship but Lucy has been really busy outside her work too. In the last few months, Lucy has set up a mentoring scheme called Inspiring You.
Inspiring You was born after Lucy attended a session about young women on boards in business at last year’s One Young World conference. She said that when she was at school there was never any talk of career progression or any real career advice. “I started the mentoring scheme," she says, "because I didn’t want other young girls to face the same problems that I did.”
At the moment Lucy is working with Leeds and Bradford city councils to get the scheme started and later this month she is running the first one day event for Inspiring You at the Telefónica offices in Leeds. 21 teenage girls will spend a day at the offices completing various activities all aimed at helping them realise their potential and improve their key skills for employment.
Throughout the day the girls will be spending time with apprentices from Telefónica who will be their mentors for the day; they’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about their background and for their advice on getting on to the career ladder. And Lucy’s even managed to get some senior women in the company to talk about their backgrounds and how they landed top jobs at Telefónica.
Lucy said, “I think there are a lot of issues about self-doubt and how successful careers aren’t always discussed with young girls. They fall into careers and hope for the best. We want these girls to have changed their mind-sets and know that a corporate environment isn’t that scary. I really want to inspire them to success.”
Lucy could really be on to something here. According to figures gathered by BBC News last year, women hold less than a third of the top jobs in the UK across a number of industries. Obviously there are a number of complex reasons why women are underrepresented in the boardroom but steps to try and redress the balance can only be a good thing. Concentrating on inspiring women from a young age is definitely a move in the right direction.
Lucy’s got dreams bigger than just teenagers in Yorkshire too. She said, “Telefonica has offices up and down the UK, I would like to roll these events out across the whole country and reach more girls than just those in Leeds and Bradford.
“And I’d like to get an older age group involved too, I think it could be a good opportunity for them to network and to be inspired.”
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