Yorkshire social enterprise helping Women to Work

Jenny Pollock and Emma Shute, co-founders, Women to Work
Jenny Pollock and Emma Shute, co-founders, Women to Work
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A Yorkshire-based duo is helping support women and companies looking to boost gender diversity in business.

Emma Shute and Jenny Pollock, co-founders of Women to Work, provide workshops and coaching to help female workers “be the best they can be” in their chosen field.

Clients include mothers returning from career breaks, to would-be entrepreneurs and those looking to climb the corporate ladder.

The social enterprise also advises corporate clients on how to remove the barriers to progression for their female workforce.

Since launching in October 2014, its work has included a five-month project with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, the results of which were shared with other fire services around the UK.

Many of the organisation’s individual clients are women looking to set-up on their own and take control of their careers.

Women to Work “is all about women’s development”, whether or not they are already in a business, Ms Shute said.

She told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s all about working collaboratively to help women get the best out of themselves.

“For individuals, that can be coaching and various resources to help them return to work, set-up a business or make a change in their worklife.

“We work with organisations to help create sustainable engagement for their female workforce.”

The idea for Women to Work came about when the co-founders met during an MSc course at Sheffield Hallam University.

“We got talking about our own personal views, frustrations, experiences and those of our friends and colleagues around how difficult it can be,” Ms Shute said.

“It can be particularly difficult going back to work after you’ve had children, when you’re trying to make a career work.”

Women to Work has been founded as a with-profits social enterprise, to keep prices and costs low, but also serve as role models for clients by running a successful business, Ms Shute added.

“A lot of our work is supporting other women who want to start businesses, so we want to be role models and show we can create a thriving business.

“We will be re-investing a portion profits. Social entrepreneurial values are at the heart of what we do.”