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Course to help girls build leadership skills

BHS and HSBC launch She Leads, a real world readiness programme for public and private school students. Photograph shows L-R Christie Hunter Arscott, gender and generations strategist; Linda Parker, Head of School, BHS; Kenneth Caesar, Principal, Cedarbridge Academy; Keisha Douglas, Principal, The Berkeley Institute; Judy Doidge, HSBC Executive Sponsor overseeing the BHS Charitable Trust partnership and She Leads programme (Photograph supplied).

Young women from public and private schools are to join forces as part of a “ground-breaking” partnership designed to prepare them for the real world.

The weeklong summer course at the Bermuda High School is expected to provide 30 pupils with the skills to help them succeed in education and employment, as well as other aspects of adult life.

The school and HSBC Bermuda will announce today, on International Women’s Day, the launch of their She Leads: A Real World Readiness Programme.

The scheme is aimed at girls who have a year left of high school and will cater for 15 BHS students and 15 pupils from CedarBridge Academy and the Berkeley Institute.

A spokeswoman said yesterday the course was “designed to not only inspire, but to equip students with tools and frameworks to enable them to take ownership of their education, careers and lives”.

The programme will be run by BHS in July and was developed by Christie Hunter Arscott, a former pupil at the school who is an advisor on gender matters. She said: “It’s time for a new type of employability skills programme that goes beyond skills such as interviewing and resume review.

“This course will give participants the opportunity to tap into their own unique leadership capabilities and to uncover the mindsets that both help and hinder women as they enter the workforce.

“These are the skill sets and mindsets that will set young women off in the right direction to realise their potential in the workplace.”

Ms Hunter Arscott added: “Together, we have an exciting opportunity to positively impact the development of girls’ leadership capabilities within our community.”

The programme, which will be specifically tailored to how girls learn, will welcome senior women from HSBC and other industries to share their career experiences.

Interactive sessions will be used to help the girls hone their leadership skills.

It is hoped the teenagers will share what they learn during the week with classmates when they return to school.

A spokeswoman explained: “This unique student-to-facilitator progression means that more young women will be able to benefit from the course materials and it will give participants an additional opportunity to deepen their learning, develop their leadership skills and put those skills into practice.”

Judy Doidge, the HSBC executive sponsor of the scheme, said: “Through this programme we are committed to providing young people with opportunities to develop the employability skills that today’s employers look for, alongside the financial capability skills that young people need to manage their money effectively, right from the start.

“The gender pay gap is a real issue here in Bermuda, and around the world, so we are particularly delighted to be able to support this course aimed at supporting young women to make their first step on the career ladder a confident one.”

The programme is part of a wider BHS drive called I Lead, set up to encourage leadership skills for girls of all ages.

Linda Parker, the head of school, said: “As a school specialising in the education of girls, I am particularly excited by this opportunity to enable girls from across Bermuda to learn from each other and build their peer networks.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with HSBC to offer this course to the future female leaders of Bermuda. We look forward to building on this when we open our innovation centre next year.”

Details of the selection process for the course are expected to be announced in early April.