My personal experience of Springboard dates back to when I was training in an Engineering Company in Stockport. The gap between men and women was clear and identified. My mother raised me to demand equality and accept nothing less, so when asked to run the programme I jumped at the opportunity.
Was I ready? No.
Was I scared? Most definitely yes!
But is anything less worth it?
At the tender age of 21, being working class and from Manchester, I had already faced stereotypes, inequalities and gender bias, and I refused to accept it.
I made the life changing journey down to Devon and have never looked back. It was the first time in my life that I had been away from home, alone. It was a time of growth for me both personally and professionally. I completed my training and developed the areas I needed to in order to gain knowledge. I asked for advice and experience to my colleagues and mentors on the course. I worked incredibly hard as I wanted to give both the course and the women due to attend, the justice it deserves. Once I had finished my accreditation, I came back to the office feeling confident and competent and able to take over the world with my Sister Army in tow.
Even in a company open to equality and diversity, I faced the same old questions from men and women alike:
- Why is it for women only? It’s sexist.
- Is this just a place to man-bash?
- Why is this even needed?
- What’s available for men?
As already mentioned, my mother raised me an unapologetic feminist (definition – not women taking over the world but giving women equal rights and opportunities as men) so here are the answers:
- The programme deals with sensitive issues, being women-only this makes it easier to talk about issues in a safe environment. The programme gives your organisation an EO/Diversity boost to be doing something for women, and is in tune with gender equality legislation. It was researched, designed and written by the Springboard Consultancy – Quality assurance, award-winning consultancy, reputable, recognises diversity in UK workplace.
- As with other minority groups (such as gender, age, religion, faith race, disability and sexuality) women have many issues in common. They get a huge boost by discovering they are ‘not the only one’. Sometimes issues related to men pop up, but is most definitely not a place to ‘bash’ ANYONE at all.
- To answer this question would take a long answer as it covers so many areas, so I’m going to focus on one area: The Gender Pay Gap. Even in 2016 (the latest stats I could find) the gap between a full-time working man’s earnings and what a woman earns is 9.4%. For part time work this nearly doubles to 19.3%.
- Navigator – The Work and Personal Development Programme for Men.
Running the programmes was a breath of fresh air and a real success. Here’s some of the feedback I received:
“An excellent and empowering opportunity to let your guard down and air your worries and insecurities with people that understand” – Fiona, Trainer
* “I will definitely recommended this course even if you think you know what you want and who you are, this course will make you challenge ‘core’ beliefs that can affect you when you don’t even realise” – Jane, Purchasing Manager
* “Springboard has changed my life, it has been a very emotional rollercoaster, it has made me realise what I want from my home and work. I have made some really good friends shared some very good information to help me decide hat plan to take for my future, I would recommend this course to anyone if you’re stuck and unsure of your future.” – Dawn, Shift Operator
* “Thank you Rebecca for making the course such an enjoyable one. I feel that I have benefitted from it enormously and feel that I have met some great people. You were genuinely interested in everyone’s thoughts, feelings and experiences. I could also tell you really enjoyed running the course- which is FANTASTIC!!” – Stacey, Job Planner
* “I attended the Springboard women’s development course, and it changed my life. When I started the course I was undecided on my future and wasn’t really sure what direction to go in, but during and after the course I realised that I wanted to push and pursue my career, and pushed myself to get that promotion, and have flown ever since. I am completely happy in my life choices since the course and would recommend the Springboard platform, for any lady who is undecided or unsure. The level of supports and friendship groups that you form are genuine and real, a thoroughly enjoyable and life changing experience.” – Jo, HR Manager
* “I met Becky working for my current company, I’d been told from those who had attend previous courses in the past that the springboard training was the type of training that changes your life. You see I work for a Facilities Management company that was and still is very male dominated. At the time of my Springboard course there were more women in Field Service Managers roles and a new Graduate Training programme in full swing. The future for me was uncertain, new people were coming into the business, I worried I didn’t have a strong enough engineering background to survive in a very tough environment. The role was stressful, I was relatively new to the job and I didn’t really think I would make it more than a couple of years. As I write this now, I have been an Engineering Manager for 5.5 years. I felt at the time that I was losing myself, I wasn’t the happy outgoing person I always used to be, I was constantly frustrated by not being able to make any decisions. Springboard helps you work out what you really want, from your career and your life as a whole, there is no quick answer to any of your problems, but it arms you with the tools to help you find out what your qualities and strengths are and the networks you have without even realising them. Looking back now I have achieved all the things I wrote down on my personal goals. For my work goals although I didn’t move roles, I became braver in my current role and more determined than ever that I would not be beaten. I was once scared that the new trainees would come in and take my job, but I have proved the doubters wrong and the people that believed in my abilities and gave me the chance to be a Manager absolutely right. I will always be grateful for the support I have had over the years, but there is only you that can drive your success.” – Sammi, Engineering Manager
One thing I have learned is to go for it! Especially if you can’t stop thinking about it. No matter how scared you are, sometimes to do that you need a safe place, a platform, a springboard if you will to help you. That is what this programme is about.
“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft.
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