Developing teenage careers
Giving back is one of Enterprise’s Founding Values. We’re serious about enabling employees to bring out skills in people who need help. Nicola Williams explains how through Girls Out Loud she is supporting young women to succeed.
About five years ago I became involved in a female focus group. There were different objectives – work with the community, with charities. When I got to branch manager I became a key member of this committee.
Then two years ago, when we were looking to work with a female charity in the Manchester area, I stumbled into Girls Out Loud.
Initially I spent a couple of days in schools, hosting talks to whole year groups of girls together with successful women from many backgrounds, from train drivers to lawyers to nail technicians.
We were there to inspire.
Then I was invited to join the Big Sisters programme and I was matched with a “Little Sister” for 12 months. We are mentors who talk to the girls about school, home life. We act as role models.
This programme is for kids who get lost along the way. Things have happened to them or to her parents. Maybe they have a health issue. One has a father in prison, which is a huge stigma. Some of these children are very quiet. The girls confide in the Big Sister and this helps resolve problems.
My Little Sister is a good kid but has issues with alcoholic parents. She now lives with her aunt who is only 30 and has two of her own kids as well as her nephew and niece. How can she have time for her?
I decided to be a Big Sister because I was fortunate and I come from a great family. Even so I felt I could have done with some guidance to help me along the way.
The kids on the Little Sister programme are desperate to be noticed, desperate to do something, but they just don’t have someone to give them guidance, advice and time.
I’m now a corporate sales manager. I meet a lot of people as I go into organisations to sell Enterprise’s services. When I start talking to people about what I do with Girls Out Loud they open up to me.
It’s opened my eyes to things that I was really shielded from when I was growing up. It makes you a more rounded individual.
People judge other people especially if they come from an underprivileged background. At Enterprise we’re lucky, we’re all university educated. It’s good to give something back.
If you would like to get involved in the Girls Out Loud programme, email Nicola.J.Williams@ehi.com or Leigh.Lavefever-Ayer@ehi.com.