WISE Conference 2019 round-up

 In Event, front page news, News

We recently attended this years’ WISE conference hosted in London at the IET. The theme Our Skills: Our Future. The aim to ensure women participate fully in the UK’s STEM workforce.

Jayne Little, our MD, and Michelle Lewis, one of our trainers, were both in attendance to network on the day with 320 people present from a range of organisations with speakers from Amazon, LinkedIn and Lloyds banking group just to name a few.

Skills 4 at the WISE Conference 2019

Everyone was keen to get to know each other and we had great numbers visit our stand all interested to find out more about the programmes we offer. We had great discussions with a number of women from GSK and Network Rail. As well as getting to meet Sonya Veerasamy from Women in transport and Fran Long from The Faraday Institute.

Michelle attended the talk by Gina Rippon on the Gendered Brain. Gina uses neuroscience to explain the differences, if any, between female and male brains and how this might effect bias and then in turn effects the representation of Women in STEM.

During the afternoon Jayne provided a breakout workshop on Inclusive Leadership which was attended by the maximum of 70 people who had booked before the conference plus some extras who wanted the attend but having been unable to book in advance turned up and waited and managed to get in.


Jayne Little Inclusive Leadership

During the session, Jayne shared best practice (as well as mistakes to avoid) based on Skills 4’s extensive experience within the sector over the last 12 years.

The session was designed on the back of the 2019 Moving the Dial Reports (available to organisations who run the Career Development Programme for Women) which demonstrate that within each organisation there are pockets on good and bad leadership – which impacts directly on the retention and progression of female talent.

On the day, there was a mix of established leaders, people responsible for – and actively involved in -creating a more inclusive culture, and others who liked the idea of Inclusive Leadership, but weren’t sure where they fitted in.

The session highlighted that everyone had a role to play in building and maintaining an organisation where inclusive leadership was the cultural norm. The session covered how to secure buy in from the senior leadership team; the moral/legal/business case for diversity and inclusion; the importance of equipping mid-level leaders and managers the skills, knowledge and confidence to engage diverse teams; and how to reduce unconscious bias at an individual and organisational level. More info on our Inclusive Leadership and Management training here.

Drawing back to the opening statement that it was everyone’s responsibility, all delegates left the session with 3 personal actions to promote more inclusive mindsets in their own organisations.

The day engaged lots of talk around Unconscious Bias, it’s currently a trending topic when it comes to speaking about equality, diversity and inclusion. We have successfully been training organisations with our Unconscious Bias Training Programme to provide tools to prevent the effects the bias can have.

The conference closing session was a speech from Helen Wollaston the Chief Executive of WISE.
She spoke of “Being bold and an agent of change” emphasising that “We need more of you to work together to make faster progress”. The WISE campaign work to increase gender balance in the STEM industries, with a target of 1 million women in core STEM roles by 2020, hosting this conference has successfully brought everyone together with the same end goal, to create a network and to collaborate to build a future for women in STEM.


Here at Skills 4 we are one of the UK’s leading providers of gender diversity initiatives and training programmes. We support clients across the globe including Atkins, Arcadis, Balfour Beatty and Kier who are looking to achieve gender diversity and equality objectives through tailored training and programmes that return measurable and instant results.

With courses ranging from one day workshops to three month programmes, we offer a great selection of courses for those looking to develop and utilise the skills of their business and workforce.

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