I’ve already written about how I volunteer occasionally through Inspiring the Future organisation. I give up half a day of my life periodically to do mock interviews with 6th formers. Its usually fun, and I am amazed every time just how ‘together’ the young people are with whom I speak. I am 100% certain I wasn’t that articulate when I was 17!
My company, NewVoiceMedia, actively encourage all employees to get more involved in these sorts of things. Rohini Kothi, who leads our foundation work at NewVoiceMedia, arranged for a few of us to join an event in Birmingham, set up by Stemmettes & Monster.
I was thrilled to join in. Interviewing is something I do often. It’s a priviledge to contribute towards young women feeling comfortable as they look for a career in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths. I am also a huge fan of the work of Anne-Marie Imafidon, the Stemmettes‘ founder, so I was really pleased to meet her too. (Read more about her & her work here).
Anne-Marie is a natural speaker, introducing the speakers & events with a relaxed style. Keynotes by Sinead Bunting, EU Marketing Director of Monster.co.uk and Sharmadean Reid of WAH Nails. Both gave brief, yet informative overviews of their careers. It is interesting so see how they had got to where they are today.
The events for the Stemmettes were varied. There were CV workshops, mock interviews, & mentoring. These were broken up by interactive demonstrations on engineering, virtual reality amongst others.
Attendees ages were between 15 & 17. Generally speaking, there was a marked difference in the interest levels between the age groups. The older girls being much more focused than most of the younger ones.
Obviously, this in itself was a generalisation, and there were stand out exceptions. I spoke to several really lovely young girls who were switched on, and asked lots of interesting questions.
Yet there were other, less inspiring conversations too. I did find it a little frustrating to talk to the girls who had no questions at all. I appreciate not knowing what you want to do when you get older – frankly, I still feel like that!
However, there was a lack of general curiosity amongst a small number of the attendees. If they didn’t demonstrate an interest in something (anything) I could feel myself yearning to talk to other girls who were. It was these girls in particular I tried my best to reach. I have to add that I wasn’t always successful though.
Even as I think back today, I find a deep sadness. If these girls can’t get excited about their life and the opportunities available to them today, how will they persuade an employer to take a chance on them?
And yet…they are lucky enough to live in an age and in a country that will encourage them to stay on at school for another 2 years. It’s not that many decades ago that they would have been thrust into the world at 14 and left to get on with it. Today, they have time to find themselves, and things that they are interested in.
Perhaps meeting Stemmettes and others in this way will spark something in their brain today, or in the coming weeks.
Maybe its a slow fuse for some people. I really hope so, because there has never been a better time to be curious, and to turn that curiosity in to a career you love.