Students from Whalley Range High School for Girls spent a morning of mentoring with Manchester’s professional women as part of a deep learning day earlier this month.
The morning was attended by a range of professionals including 19 volunteers from Alliance Manchester Business School faculty and alumni.
Year seven pupils followed the theme of ‘Women in the World of Work’ and invited professionals from a plethora of backgrounds to discuss careers, studying, and the steps to take for a bright future in the world of work.
From engineering to marketing to education, women from a huge variety of professions attended and were as keen to share their experiences, as the year seven girls were to learn from their mentors.
Each mentor spent five minutes with a small group of pupils and asked questions about their career and highlights so far. The professionals continued to circulate the classrooms to provide pupils with a whole different perspective on the world of work depending on their job titles and industry areas.
Throughout the session, the pupils posed intelligent questions met by both practical and emotional advice. The professionals divulged nuggets of wisdom and spoke of professionalism, studying, training, job enjoyment and being successful.
The professionals were also intrigued in what the students’ aspirations were and were impressed by the ambitious nature of the girls.
One of the professional participants said: “The morning was a brilliant way for both us and the students to learn more about women in work.
“We got some wonderful – and sometimes challenging – questions about the role of women in work and our jobs; it has made me very excited for the future of the pupils.”
A Whalley Range pupil commented: “I’ve enjoyed finding out about what everyone does – we didn’t understand some of the jobs and it has helped me to understand the kind of job I want to do.”
Madonna Fyne, Postgraduate Research Programmes Assistant at Alliance Manchester Business School, brought some great advice to the classroom table, noting: “The harder you push yourself at school, college, university, the easier it will become when you come to choosing a career.”
Other counsel included: how to work with and lead people; how to embrace your ambitions and how to challenge the gender stereotypical job roles given to women. A strong conclusion from the morning was the importance of enjoyment within a career.
Jane Barnes, Deputy Head of teaching and learning said: “This morning has been a huge opportunity for the students to discuss different career paths outside the traditional and obvious ones usually presented to them.
“By bringing the conversation into school, it took the pupils away from any preconceptions about job roles and encouraged the girls to aspire to varied careers similar to the successful women who joined us this morning.”
“The professional women brought an array of job titles some pupils had never even heard of, but they also brought a different kind of role model to what the girls are used to. They brought the role model of a professional woman, who is successful not through money or fame, but through achieving fulfilment within their career.”
Volunteers from Alliance Manchester Business School attended as part of Business in the Community’s Business Class programme. The partnership between Alliance MBS, Whalley Range High School and Levenshulme High School sees Alliance MBS staff and students work with the high schools to help students understand what career opportunities are available, the qualifications and expertise needed to access them whilst also providing an insight to university learning.