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How two Hallam graduates are helping women to work

Emma Shute and Jenny Pollock both chose to take their careers to the next level on the MSc Coaching and Mentoring course at Sheffield Hallam.

They had both seen unfulfilled female potential throughout their working lives. So they decided to take matters into their own hands— creating the professional development company Women to Work.

Sheffield Hallam helped them apply for some initial funding to get their business off the ground, and also provided important contacts through the Enterprise Centre. The support they received helped them to carry out research, move into an office, set up a website and create marketing materials.

With Women to Work open for business, Emma and Jenny quickly put their coaching and mentoring skills into action, focusing on helping women progress into and within employment.

“We are always applying our training to our business,'' says Emma. “We share our knowledge with others when training them to coach and mentor, and we draw on our knowledge when designing women’s development programmes and one-to-one coaching. It’s wonderful to be able to use what we’ve learnt and to apply the theory in a real setting”.

Since founding Women to Work, Emma and Jenny have taken on diverse projects. They provide regular free workshops to women at all levels and stages in their lives through their Work Life Discovery Coaching Workshops. They have also worked with large organisations such as Chess ICT, the winner of the Sunday Times ‘Best Company to Work For’ 2018.

It was for Chess that they produced a research piece and a 12-month Empowering Women Programme, which delivered three individual programmes through online learning, workshops and one-to-one coaching. 

They have also worked extensively with the fire and rescue sector — delivering an innovative women’s development programme, ‘Successfully Managing your Work Life’, and mentor training for Women in the Fire Service UK.

For the future, they’re set to continue rolling out their programmes on a national scale, and are creating innovative digital solutions to empower a wider audience.

They say

“There is so much we’ve taken from the course that has been invaluable to our work. Meeting other coaches was so helpful too. As we now deliver development programmes with coaching at the core and train others to coach and mentor we are always drawing on our knowledge and experience from the course.”

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