Over 20 years ago I was fortunate enough to take part in the Springboard Women’s Personal Development Programme. At that time I was an engineer working for BT, one of the first users of the Springboard programme. I became part of a cohort of 80 women supported to undertake this award-winning programme that has been running for nearly 30 years and is now delivered in more than 47 countries globally. The programme provided a platform for my development, an opportunity to learn, insights from female leaders and provided a network of fellow ‘Springboarders’ to enable and challenge.

Fast forward to the here and now, on International Women’s day 2019, over 2,200 women working in public services across Wales can celebrate completing the Springboard Women’s Personal Development Programme.  Since 2012 I have led on this programme being organised and hosted by Academi Wales. Delivered by Julia Zorab, a Licensed Springboard Trainer, the Programme is designed for women from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives. It allows women to enhance their own skills and abilities, challenge power and inequality, while building confidence, assertiveness and a positive image. It enables the women of Wales to both give and receive more out of their lives and careers, including an insight and inspiration for the many female leaders who come to speak on the programme, huge thanks to all of them for taking part.

With this year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme being ‘#balance for better’ the continued success of the programmes reflects some fantastic results for women working in organisations across Wales and is demonstrably helping to ‘better the balance and better the world’. Springboard contributes to the continuing development of women working in Public Services, Third Sector and Charities and mirrors the set of Wales Public Service Values – Working for the Long Term, Always Growing and Improving, Working Together, Treating Everyone with Respect and Putting Citizens First. As, Julia Zorab, our Springboard Trainer says:

The Springboard Women’s Development programme has been a fantastic success and continues to be available for women throughout Wales. The Welsh Public Service Values are now really becoming ingrained in all public service organisations and Springboard is so congruent with those values and philosophies that women participating in the programme can really relate to how it fits with their personal and professional development. We are now seeing tangible results which not only benefit the women choosing to complete Springboard, but also their organisations. An incredible 98% of participants who have completed the Academi Wales Springboard programmes say it will enable them to make the best of themselves, and 96% feel they will deal better with other staff.  92% feel more confident at work, and a fantastic 94% feel completing Springboard will improve their effectiveness at work. As over 95% feel they now have more control over their future, this suggests an optimistic and exciting time ahead for women in Public Service”.

As mentioned as part of International Women’s Day history, Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist explained, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”  So…Academi Wales and the Springboard Programme are playing their collective part in enabling women to develop themselves professionally and personally, to become better managers and leaders, to create a better balance, and a better world.

Written by Zoe Sweet and Julia Zorab

Zoe Sweet is Director of Leadership & OD at Academi Wales leading on a range of short courses and programmes in behavioural leadership development. Zoe worked in BT for several years championing women in engineering as part of the BT Lecture Series and campaigns such as ‘Take Your Daughters to Work Day’. Zoe has been with Academi Wales for 10 years. Working in leadership development, she has a special interest in overcoming personal barriers to change, mental toughness and resilience and is a published author on these subjects.

Julia Zorab is licensed by The Springboard Consultancy to deliver its programmes and to train its trainers and has been part of the Springboard team over several years ensuring the programme stays current. Julia has supported many UK based organisations and has also worked in the Middle East and South Sudan, licensing women across the Middle Eastern countries to deliver the Springboard programme in their communities.

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