Mentorship

Enterprise funds girls’ ambassador network

Enterprise UK secured a £250,000 donation over five years from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation to allow The Girls’ Network, a charity that organises mentoring for young women, to launch an Ambassador Community so its graduates continue to support one another into their student years, working lives and beyond.

DRIVE caught up with Simon Caughey-Rogers, Enterprise’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Charity Events Manager, and The Girls’ Network founder and CEO, Charly Young, to find out about how this special partnership is supporting young women.

“We are so grateful to Enterprise for giving us the long-term funding to help us achieve our ambitions”

The Ambassador Community made possible with an Enterprise ROAD Forward donation will offer life-long support to all the young women who have graduated from The Girls’ Network mentoring programme since 2013 when the charity was established.

So far, the programme has connected 2000 girls and women from some of the UK’s least advantaged communities with mentors. Today, the charity offers essential mentoring and support to a cohort of more than 1200 girls aged between 14 and 19 years old every year.

The idea behind the Ambassador Community is that having been mentored themselves, the young women will support one other, be their own champions and role models and open up opportunities they may not otherwise have had access to. The goal is also that all previous mentees should become future mentors.

“Mentoring is central to Enterprise’s employee culture as it is beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee"

“It had been my dream from the outset to create a network that inspires and empowers girls and young women to grab hold of their unlimited futures,” said The Girls’ Network co-founder and CEO Charly Young. “The year-long mentoring that we provide to these young women is transformative but it’s only the beginning of the story.”

“The point is about providing the long-term support that young women need to realise their ambitions, as well as inspiring the next generation and creating a ripple effect,” Charly explained.

The partnership with The Girls’ Network was a strong fit with Enterprise’s Founding Values as a business committed to championing diverse talent on all levels: as an employer, as a business partner and through its involvement with local communities.

As a business with a strong mentoring culture, Enterprise has partnered with a number of organisations, including Bridge Builders and Girls Out Loud, and now The Girls’ Network, that use mentoring as a way to nurture future talent from their school years.

“Networks that encourage people to support and learn from one another are hugely powerful,” said Simon Caughey-Rogers. “That’s why we were excited at the opportunity of funding the creation of a women’s mentoring community with The Girls’ Network.

“Mentoring is central to Enterprise’s employee culture as it is beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee. Enabling women to support other women through their student and working lives will help to build a stronger workplace for all.”

Alongside the donation from the global ROAD Forward fund, Enterprise will also create a bespoke programme of workshops, events and job shadowing opportunities for young women at The Girls’ Network. Enterprise employees will also mentor girls through the charity’s partner schools across the country.

“The year-long mentoring that we provide to these young women is transformative but it’s only the beginning of the story”

Making an impact

Now in its ninth year, The Girls’ Network was set up in 2013 by schoolteachers Charly Young and Becca Dean in response to the multiple barriers facing young women, including limited confidence and self-belief and the pressure to conform to perceived norms.

Today, the charity delivers transformational results by pairing more than 1,200 girls each year with a mentor via relationships with schools across the country. After taking part in the mentoring journey, 98% of mentees said their confidence had improved, 81% said mentoring helped them focus more on schoolwork, and 98% said their mentor helped them feel more positive about the future.

“We are so grateful to Enterprise for giving us the long-term funding to help us achieve our ambitions,” Charly Young continued. “It means we can have long-term, deep impact and support even more young women to realise their ambitions, discover their self-worth, and develop their capacity to shape their world and their future.”

Enterprise’s ROAD (Respect, Opportunity, Achievement, Diversity) Forward programme is a global initiative launched by the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, aimed at strengthening and supporting the communities where the company operates. It provides funding to projects that open up opportunity for people who lack access to resources in education, health, and wellbeing.

Former mentee and current ambassador, Aliyah Chaumoo, said: “I was excited to become a part of the Ambassador Community when my mentoring journey came to an end because I knew it was the start of something new and bigger. It was the chance to make new networks and meet like-minded people, who may become key in my later life and career. “To me, the Ambassador Community is a wonderful group of girls and women who are always readily available to talk to. I am so grateful to be part of this network, not just for the people but also for the opportunities. I am lucky enough to work alongside The Girls' Network team to shape the way the community serves us moving forward. This is important to me because I can connect with other open-minded individuals to discuss our futures and the futures of the next generation of ambassadors.”

"The partnership with The Girls’ Network was a strong fit with Enterprise’s Founding Values as a business committed to championing diverse talent on all levels"

Farheen Khan, previously a mentee of The Girls’ Network and now an ambassador, said, "When my mentoring journey came to an end I was excited to become a part of the Ambassador Community because of the endless opportunities. The Ambassador Community is an inclusive network that helps me develop as a person and see a positive change for the future.

“I have access to networking with like-minded individuals and professionals, gaining work experience, and attending workshops, which include the offer to work alongside The Girls' Network team to shape the way the community serves us moving forward. This is important to me because it helps me envision my dreams and see the full potential in creating a change for young women."

If you are interested in a career with Enterprise, please visit our recruitment website at careers.enterprise.co.uk

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