I started mySircles because I wanted to help my children succeed, to facilitate their learning both inside and outside the classroom. Very quickly my motivation moved beyond my own backyard; it fills me with absolute joy to see any young person step into the most thriving version of themselves.
This is why I jumped at the opportunity to be part of an inspirational project to broaden the horizons of young people in the UK. I was asked by Form the Future, an inspiring organisation that aims to open the eyes of our young people to the wide range of possibilities available to them and challenge them to think broadly about their career choices.
So, as the summer term came to a close in 2018 and most children were counting the hours for the final bell, I was part of a team of volunteers going in with the hope of waking them up and raising their aspirations ready for a new school year in September.
The first day of the program I worked with the Year 10 cohort at Saffron Walden County High in Essex, the theme was busting stereotypes and I certainly had a few things to share on this topic. As a woman who has built a business in a male dominated tech industry, it hasn’t always been easy, but I have never allowed my gender to be a block to my overall goal.
With just 8% of STEM apprenticeships being awarded to girls the gender gap needs addressing. Many girls just don’t consider the sciences as a viable career option, something I have always be very conscious of as mother of 2 girls. I told myself that if I can give just one of these talented young sparks the confidence to follow their talent and passion into STEM then it will be a significant achievement!
And it was! The reaction and enthusiasm from both girls and boys was astounding. They were keen to understand my story and showed boundless enthusiasm for the endless career possibilities within their reach, regardless of stereotypes.
On the second day of the project we were working with year 7 pupils at The Netherhall School in Cambridge, the focus was a little different but the intention to inspire and motivate remained the same. I worked with a class of 12 year olds to help inspire entrepreneurial creativity by getting them to think about a business idea, with a difference. How to create a product or service that would make a different to the lives of others or to our planet. We replicated the real-life process that an entrepreneur has to go through from the ideas stage, through development, marketing, pricing, branding and finally pitching it.
Currently, our children are part of a very pressured school system that is focused on targets and results, this is why days like this are so valuable. They give the young minds an opportunity to work in a new, creative way, not to find the ‘right’ answer but to find solutions to real life problems. This is what real businesses do every day, it’s what I did with mySircles and it’s what these future entrepreneurs will be doing in just a few short years.
I have no doubt that this Year 7 group has a bright future with ideas from using virtual reality to sell extreme dreams such as landing on the moon as well as using it for rehabilitation purposes for those involved in personal injury to creating a recycling system inside our homes which takes landfill and compresses this waste into small blocks which can then be used for building things, they certainly showed a willingness to think outside the box and then totally smash the box in the process!
It was such an honour to be part of such an incredible project and it feels good to volunteer my time this way. Thank you so much to Form the Future, Saffron Walden County High, The Netherhall School and of course the pupils who on the day inspired me as much as I hope I inspired them!
I thought it would be nice to share a couple of the ideas that came up on the day, this would obviously have to be added post the event x