Sedgemoor project nominated for award

Written by on October 18, 2020

A unique project in Sedgemoor, designed to help women find work and tackle the gender pay gap, has been shortlisted for a Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Award with the results announced in December.

The ‘100 Women First’ project was entered in The Advancing Gender Equality category by the DWP Avon Somerset and Gloucestershire Jobcentre District who worked with Sedgemoor District Council’s Learning and Skills Centre, Under Construction and a range of community organisations.

Under Construction’s Caroline Derrick came up with the idea of ‘100 Women First’ after being interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour about a report stating that the District had the widest gender pay gap for women in the UK.

Determined to do something to address the disparity and the underrepresentation of women in traditionally male dominated roles, Sedgemoor enlisted the support of the DWP to offer mentoring, apprenticeships, training, work experience and business start-up advice to 100 women.  

Ambassadors from businesses and other organisations were approached to support women into employment and to enable retention. The aim was to break down barriers by encouraging communication and understanding.

By using contacts from Sedgemoor’s community elders and faith leaders, the project ensured it met the needs of BAME residents, a number of whom joined the programme and went on to become ambassadors themselves.

In January, Peter Schofield, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) visited Under Construction in Bridgwater to meet some of the women on the programme. In September, the same team launched a similar initiative for men – Men4Sedgemoor.


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