People & Skills Projects - 24 August 2020

The European Social Fund programme that helps female workers enhance their career prospects

A programme ran by Nottingham Trent University, and supported by the European Social Fund via D2N2, is helping improve the career prospects of women across the D2N2 region.

The Women in Leadership programme is a free, 3-day course designed to help women in SMEs to develop their careers and their capability to manage and lead within their organisations.

The programme is part of the Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project which enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access free bespoke, employer-led training, career coaching and advice to up-skill their employees in vocational and high-level technical skills.

One of the course’s alumni is Claire Lowe, a personal injury solicitor at Hopkins Solicitors LLP.

Her job at Hopkins involves pursuing claims for people who have been injured and suffered financial losses because of negligence.

Claire spends her time meeting and advising clients, taking statements, arranging medical reports and drafting legal documents, attending court, and negotiating settlements.

In addition to this, Claire helps to manage the personal injury department, leading to her interest in NTU’s Women in Leadership course.

Women in Leadership

Claire first heard about the course from a partner at her firm who picked up details at a meeting of the Mansfield 2020 project.

As an associate solicitor, she had ambitions to progress her career at the firm by undertaking more managerial work and the course grabbed her interest immediately.

“I was hoping to gain promotion at Hopkins Solicitors who are actively encouraging more women in the firm to progress to senior positions and allow for more diversity in the decisions they make,” said Claire.

“I was, therefore, looking for some guidance on the best way for me to progress and contribute to this diversity, and this course was ideal for that.”

Of the course itself, Claire was impressed with the opportunities and information provided.

“The quality of teaching and support was outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting women in the same position as me, looking to progress further with their careers in all areas of business, not just my own.

“The classes were packed full of information – so many different areas of management and leadership were covered – and the format helped to keep things interesting. I walked away from each teaching day feeling inspired and motivated.

Looking ahead, Claire is positive about her future opportunities and is already looking to take the next step in her development.

“The course, assignments and coaching gave me the confidence I needed to move forward with my career.

“Since the course, I have been promoted to a Salaried Partner.”

Claire is now exploring options to continue her studies in management and leadership to help her develop even further.

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Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs

The Women in Leadership courses are run as part of the Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project which is part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) via D2N2.

The programme is delivered by NTU as part of the High Level Skills consortium which also includes Derby College, Nottingham College, the University of Derby, and Nottingham City Council.

The Priority Skills for D2N2 SMEs project is also committed to supporting local people from under-represented groups including women, people with disabilities, BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people, people aged 50 and over, and those who have not had access to traditional educational opportunities.

The ESF invests in people, with a focus on improving employment and education opportunities across the European Union.

It also aims to improve the situation of the most vulnerable people at risk of poverty.

The ESF provision in the D2N2 region contributes to local growth by increasing labour market participation, promoting social inclusion, and developing the skills of the potential and existing workforce.

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