logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 32 - June 2003

Learning to succeed
by Gaby Spinks

Organisers were encouraged and pleased by the success of the Yemeni and Somali Young Women’s Day on 25th April at Verdon Recreation Centre which was filled with the chatter of 100 young women.

The event, encouraging these young women to look towards their future, was organised by Connexions workers Sophia Saleh and Lorraine Jones and funded by the European Social Fund and Connexions Plus Partnership. There were stalls from the Employment Service, Nursing and Midwifery, Personal Advisors from Connexions and demonstrations of hairdressing, beauty therapy, shiatsu massage, nail art and henna tattoos.

The day was a learning experience for everyone. The woman running the Nursing stall, keen to recruit women from different ethnic communities, said she had realised that because the girls assumed they would marry young and have children, they weren’t really considering their education and career options. “The nursing profession is also very keen to take on older entrants and maybe the answer is to target women after their children have started full-time education. Nurses need to represent their local communities, including community health care” she said, “Nursing offers a good career structure for anyone.”

The Employment Service stand was also busy. Talking to the girls I discovered a real mix of opinions. Some were interested in career paths and opportunities, but others thought a lot of young girls were slipping through the education net. One yooung woman, who had just qualified as a pharmacist, explained she thought the girls needed more positive role models and encouragement to stay in education. “Some of the girls are more interested in who’s marrying whom and where they’re going to live than getting on with real life,” she said.