Apprentice Lucy Paine is hoping to inspire more women to work in technology as her employer O2 prepares to launch its latest apprenticeship programme.
The 19-year-old, who works in Leeds for telecommunications firm O2, part of Telefónica, dropped out of sixth form after just three weeks, taking a job at retailer New Look and then another at Lloyds TSB before securing a place on an apprenticeship scheme at O2.
Eighteen months later Lucy is halfway through her apprenticeship, but she has also set up a mentoring scheme called Inspiring You. Lucy said: “I think there are a lot of issues about self-doubt and how successful careers aren’t always discussed with young girls.
“They fall into careers and hope for the best. We want these girls to have changed their mind-sets and know that a corporate environment isn’t that scary. I really want to inspire them to success.”
The Inspiring You day, held earlier this week, saw 21 teenagers from three Leeds schools spend a day at the O2 offices in Leeds, completing activities aimed at helping them realise their potential and improve their key skills for employment. The girls heard from apprentices and senior women within O2.
Applications are due to open in early March for the O2 Operations Apprenticeship programme. It has been in existence for 15 years and operates in Leeds and Slough. This year, there are 12 apprentices, eight of whom are based in Leeds. Lucy is among them.
* The YEP’s Leeds Works campaign is asking businesses to create new apprenticeship schemes to help tackle youth unemployment.