York & North Yorkshire LEP and partners launch £1m project aimed to boost women in the workforce

08 March 2021

York & North Yorkshire LEP and partners are launching a new £1m project to boost women in the workforce on International Women’s Day 2021 (Monday 8 March).


The York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has worked with partners The Opportunity Centre, part of Aspire-igen Group, Yorkshire In Business and Beyond 2030 to create a new support programme designed to boost women in the workforce and enable women to prosper in York & North Yorkshire.


Aspire2lead is a £1million project, part-funded by the European Social Fund and is being launched on Monday 8th May to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day. It’s an important programme for the region given the gender inequalities that exist both in terms of opportunities and pay. Whilst women are more skilled than ever with 56% of university graduates being female, there are still fewer women than men occupying senior roles in business and on boards (there are only 28% of women on FTSE 100 Boards) and the pay gap between men and women is just under the national average of 17%. Furthermore, women’s employment has been disproportionately affected by the impact of Covid-19 compared to their male counterparts, setting back progress that had been made so far in closing the gender pay gap.


Through 10 different strands of work, the project aims to help 80 SMEs and over 1000 individuals in employment or self-employment offering support such as leadership and entrepreneurial training, return to work support including bespoke careers guidance and networking and ambassador opportunities. An exciting element of the project is working with young women to enable them to aim higher in their career aspirations. Linked to this, the project will work with senior women to help them develop as ambassadors to champion and encourage women onto boards, governing bodies and into senior roles.


Sam Alexander, Chair of the LEP Skills & Employability Board comments “At York & North Yorkshire LEP, we are passionate about encouraging the work of existing and emerging female talent in our region as we know our economy will be stronger by being inclusive and through leveraging this expertise.


“Collectively, we want to inspire women about the careers they can access whilst building career readiness. We are driven to tackle occupational “segregation”, where women are concentrated in occupations with poorer prospects, empowering them to prosper through progression into higher value and better paid job roles. We are thrilled to have Aspire Igen as lead partner to realise this project and are excited to see this launched as part of International Women’s Day 2021.”

Aspire2lead Project Manager, Lorna Watson added “Aspire2lead hopes to create a Yorkshire that prides itself on equality in the workplace by supporting women and SMEs to grow, develop and succeed. We need the support of all people to create a county-wide community that reaps the benefits of achieving parity between all genders”.


Aspire2lead offers something for every woman who wants to strive to achieve and grow as individuals, both professionally and personally. To find out more, visit https://theopportunitycentre.com/projects/aspire2lead/ or email [email protected]

7 Responses to “York & North Yorkshire LEP and partners launch £1m project aimed to boost women in the workforce”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>