Frequently Asked Questions
How does the project help girls?
I Can Be introduces girls to inspiring females in their workplaces with the aim of broadening horizons and promoting high aspirations.
The programme shows girls the link between what they do at school and their own futures, adding purpose to their learning and boosting their motivation and enthusiasm at school.
Girls hear first-hand from women about the skills their jobs require and the education and training paths that can develop these. By opening girls’ eyes to what women across society can do we promote the value of self-belief and hard work, improving girls’ confidence and self-esteem, and crucially, later life chances.
Connecting local girls, women, schools and employers reduces the likelihood of disadvantaged girls facing social exclusion or isolation in the future, and helps to strengthen wider communities.
What are the benefits to schools?
I Can Be provides a way for schools to engage with and invest in their local communities, alongside bolstering the learning and life chances of some of their most disadvantaged pupils. Working with local employers and workplaces and engaging with parents is a hands-on way for schools to extend their reach into the wider community.
The data collected during our evaluation by the Unit for Schools and Families in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London will be available to the school to show the impact of participating in the programme, and practical teaching advice and resources developed from that data will be distributed to participating schools.
Who will take the girls on the visits?
Girls visit workplaces in small groups of seven to ten. We ask the school to select one member of staff to accompany the girls on the visits. This member of staff will be invited to a short training session at our offices prior to the programme and then named the school’s I Can Be Ambassador. I Can Be Ambassadors have often been teaching assistants and non-class-based staff such as SEN Co-ordinators in the past, but the choice of staff member is up to each individual school.
Why are boys not included?
Boys and girls from all backgrounds would benefit from the programme. We are focusing on the area of greatest need – girls from disadvantaged, inner city areas, who, research shows, are most likely to be restricted in their options for the future, and less likely to be exposed to opportunities.
Are all girls eligible to take part?
Whilst all girls would benefit from the programme, we are focusing on those with the greatest need. Participating schools are carefully chosen to ensure that we are reaching those pupils who will benefit the most from taking part.
How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your programme?
We work with the Unit for Schools and Families in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London to evaluate the effect our work has on girls and communities, ensuring our programme has the highest possible impact.
Why does the programme focus on this age group?
Many projects and initiatives aiming to raise aspirations, broaden opportunities and interest young people in the workplace target secondary school level. However, research has shown that aspirations often change as children grow older and begin to think in terms of ‘idealistic’ and ‘realistic’ aspirations. Targeting children at secondary level is therefore often too late, as at this stage pupils are more likely to relate their futures to their current academic performance and economic circumstances.
In light of the socio-economic achievement gap, delaying aspiration-raising initiatives can result in a failure to capture the imaginations of many talented young people from socially deprived areas. In primary school, by contrast, children have a more open vision of what their futures might hold, meaning that exposure to the possibilities out there is especially important.
Will I Can Be help girls to choose a career?
Exposure to new areas and walks of life, and simply new neighbourhoods, constitutes as important a part of the programme as becoming familiar with a variety of types of work.
The programme helps to educate girls on types of jobs and workplaces but the central aim is to broaden their horizons and encourage them to keep their minds open, rather than to choose a career path.
How much does it cost to take part?
We are a not-for-profit organisation funded by a charitable grant. There is no cost to schools, parents, employers or volunteers.