From education to employment

Founder of ladies networking group returns to source of inspiration at Blackburn College  

The founder of a ladies only networking group has returned to Blackburn College, which was a source of inspiration for her to set up the group. 

Suzy Orr returned to Blackburn College’s University Centre to host a ‘Unique Ladies’ networking event. 

The Blackburn Unique Ladies networking group has just moved to Blackburn College and is welcoming new members to join. 

Former Blackburn College student Suzy said that her time at the College had inspired her and given her the grounding to set up the networking group, which has meetings at eight different locations across the North West. 

Suzy said: “I came to study at Blackburn College to be a hotel receptionist. The course gave me a really good grounding for life, covering a whole range of different skills and was a source of inspiration for Unique Ladies.  

“One of the things that the course taught me was the importance of having a meet and greet, and how it’s essential to make people feel welcome – that’s something that I’ve taken onboard for Unique Ladies. 

“To be back here with Unique Ladies is fantastic, it’s as though I have come full circle. I’d have never imagined that I would be here helping other women nearly 44 years later. 

“I set up Unique Ladies seven years ago after working for 30 years in the IT and Telecoms industry which was heavily male dominated. The idea was to create something for women specifically for women where women didn’t feel pressured to act in a certain way or to wear a suit to fit in with male counterparts. 

“The first networking events were held in Skelmersdale and we had 45 women attend, this made me realise that there was a need to have female only networking events and I opened groups in Bolton, in Salford, Preston and Liverpool. I soon realised I didn’t have time to run all the sessions, so I decided to franchise it.” 

Unique Ladies will be working with Blackburn College to create a new network for female students where they will provide tips on how to be successful in business, teach them the importance of relationship building and collaboration, amongst other things. 

Suzy added: “I really wanted to give something back and help young women who might be just starting out in their careers. The group will give students a head start when it comes to networking before they embark on their careers.” 

Caroline Bracewell, Blackburn College Assistant Principal (Higher Education), said: “It was great to welcome the Unique Ladies to Blackburn University Centre and we look forward to them returning for their monthly meetings.  

“We are excited to work with them to launch a network for our female students as we feel this will enhance their skills and help develop their confidence in networking.” 

To find out more about Unique Ladies go to Unique Ladies Networking – Business Networking across the North West or email [email protected]  

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