A Big Sister programme visit to the Co-op Head Office in Manchester

A Big Sister programme visit to the Co-op Head Office in Manchester

Last week a group of our Year 9 girls who have been participating in the Girls Out Loud Big Sister Mentoring Programme enjoyed a trip to the Co-op Head Office at 1 Angel Square in Manchester. Our Big Sister Local Lead and Stardom Coach, Sarra Smith, got in touch with the Co-op to tell them what the Big & Little Sisters thought of the visit. This is what she wrote….

On a beautiful sunny September morning the Year 9 girls were in awe from the moment they stepped off the school minibus as they stared up at the beautiful building where we were to spend the next few hours.

 It was a fun jam-packed day of listening to inspiring women and was great to get the girls doing group work to push them out of their comfort zone. It was so interesting to learn about the history behind the Co-op and the values that also apply to the girls in school.

The session that helped them become more aware of the daily choices they can make to improve the environment was great. Please give thanks to everyone involved who came to talk to the girls about their roles, departments and the routes into careers at the Co-op from junior apprenticeship level through to senior leaders and it was great to find out about the work experience opportunities available to them next year. There were a few girls  interested in applying next year and a couple are considering apprenticeships!

We enjoyed tasting yummy food that caters for every dietary need in the Delicious Food department – I think the ‘Free From’ Chocolate Cookies were a favourite! The breakfast the Co-op provided to start our workshop and the amazing lunch were much appreciated. The girls loved the tour of the fantastic building and were amazed to findi out that one of our Big Sisters, Katie Martin, has abseiled down the original Co-op building!

On a personal level it was great to get to meet the departing and new CEO’s of the Co-op Academies Trust, who are clearly both passionate about raising aspirations and supporting young girls and it was so lovely that Jo Whitfield was able to join us. Aspirations are raised when girls get to meet so many amazing women in different positions and at different levels in work, developing their careers. The girls need to see what is possible to believe it can apply to them for their future so thank you for showing them what can be achieved.

Girls Out Loud, the teachers and Little Sisters from Co-op Academy Swinton and our Big Sister mentors would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in making the workshop happen and thank you for overseeing such a great event for us!

Sarra Smith