Female pupils from Swindon Academy School have spent a day learning about working life at a medical device manufacturer, as part of the borough's Enterprise Advisor Network scheme.
Beckton Dickinson is one of 21 Enterprise Advisor companies in the town, forging a long-term relationship with local schools that goes beyond work experience. Enterprise Advisors also offer experience days and help develop pupils' interview skills.
The Network is a collaboration between Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Swindon Borough Council, and Wiltshire Council.
The Careers Hub recruits leaders in business and matches them with a local school or college to provide a long-term relationship between education and the world of business. Enterprise Advisers then work alongside the school to develop everything from pupils' interview skills to experience days.
Helen Hewlett, HR manager for Beckton Dickinson, explained: "“What we are doing with these students is giving them the full experience of different areas within our business.
"They are seeing engineering services, microbiology and also going into production. It’s a really rewarding experience seeing students get excited about our business."
Jessica Cook, careers officer at Swindon Academy, said: "Having Helen means we’ve got someone who we can go to for advice on how we should steer our careers programme so it is best for employers as well as the young people that we are supporting."
“It’s been really important today that the pupils have been led in each activity by female leaders. What it means is they can see female role models, within science and within tech.
"Just to have a role model that’s female and that’s working within a STEM subject is really important and really inspirational for young girls aspiring to work in these industries.
Auriel Chandarana, the Swindon Borough Council officer responsible for running the network, said: "It’s important for pupils to understand what employers need but at the same time develop their skills and let them learn and understand the journey of what they would like to do in the future.”
The network is also backed by place marketing board Switch on to Swindon. Chairman Jenny Groves said: “The scheme is a fantastic example of how schools can not only help inspire young people into working in Swindon based businesses but that business can think about how it can attract future pupils to work for them.
"Switch on to Swindon fully supports the EA programme and I hope more businesses get involved in it.”
Information on becoming an Enterprise Advisor can be found at www.becomeanea.com
A video of the site visit, which was made by new graduates from Swindon's Create Studios, can be found at https://youtu.be/ykvzeT-KF7g