“It’s your time to shine.” – Samantha Sherrington, Head of Stakeholder and Cultural Transformation at NHS England and the Mayoress of Bolton

On Friday 8 March, women were celebrated across the globe for International Women’s Day. Staff and students at Worsley College joined in with those celebrations by inviting in some of Manchester’s most inspirational ladies to speak to the college’s young female students.

Five inspiring speakers were in attendance at The Glass House at Worsley, the college’s very own training restaurant on Friday, to address female students from across the college’s many courses. They were there to speak to the girls and inspire them to be daring, confident, resilient, outspoken, to challenge gender bias and above all else, to believe in themselves.

Samantha Sherrington, Head of Stakeholder and Cultural Transformation at NHS England and the Mayoress of Bolton, has been an advocate for female equality for many years and spoke about the issues women might have in male dominated workplaces, and how to challenge those issues.

She said: “We must aspire to raise women’s issues within the workplace, or nothing will ever change. It’s your time to shine and this is my advice to you:

“Remember that there is always a way, so have perseverance, be curious and be gritty.

“Be brave.

“Get yourself an inspirational female mentor.

“Be careful how you describe other women in the workplace. Let’s use more vocabulary like powerful and determined and less like victim and defensive. Then live that language.

“Finally, be kind to each other.”

Samantha also spoke about her struggles growing up coming from deprivation, and proved to the girls they didn’t need to accept the circumstances they currently or once faced, they can to transform their own lives for the better. 

VP Marketing Communications Manager at Norcan Group, Vanessa Ashworth, also spoke at the event and spoke about her successful and lucrative career in Global Marketing amongst other things.

Vanessa showed the girls where they could be in the coming years should they work hard and put their minds to it. She described herself as ‘invincible’ and explained that’s exactly how she had gotten where she is today.

Her advice to the students was: “Cast your net far and wide.”

Vanessa had done just that we she started volunteering. Using her skills in marketing for the good of her local community. She met people from many different walks of life and explained how this made her an even better and more successful person.

She continued: “Challenge the cards you have been dealt and carry on learning.”

Rebecca Bennett inspired the young students as she spoke about her career in Environmental Sustainability. Rebecca on many occasions faced her fears in order to achieve her goals and had this to say to the girls in attendance: “Be daring, be curious and be resilient.”

Those were the words Rebecca lived by in order to get where she is today, working as an Environment Sustainability Officer at the University of Salford. Her daring side has taken her all the way to Australia where she once lived, and her resilience allowed her to climb the career ladder and find happiness in her personal life.

Beautician and entrepreneur, Gemma Betton, spoke about her journey to becoming a business owner with her twin sister Rebecca. The Skulpt Academy is a leading training provider of beauty, make-up and nail technology. Gemma spoke about her career so far which includes working with celebrities from across the UK including Cheshire Housewife, Dawn Ward, and TV personality, Gemma Collins.

The talk was particularly inspirational for the hair and beauty students in the room and showed them exactly where a career in the industry could take them.

Gemma said: “Believe in yourself, that’s the best advice I can give.”

Professional martial artist, Danielle Smith followed Gemma to the lectern to talk about how she turned her life around, from struggling at school to helping run her family business.

Danielle’s dad is the owner of North West Warriors Martial Arts and Fitness Centre in Radcliffe, which she now runs on his behalf. The 22-year-old said: “Have confidence in yourselves. I never even knew what I wanted to do and just a few years later I’m running a business.”

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