Equipping local secondary school students with the confidence and skills to tackle further education and the workplace was the goal of an event at ExxonMobil Fawley.

The Year 10 Future Skills Day saw 60 girls from Applemore, Noadswood, and New Forest Academy come to Fawley for the inaugural event.

Fawley STEM Ambassador Alice Smith helped to organise the day.

She said: “We know from both research and our own anecdotal evidence that there is a confidence gap between men and women.

Often, young women find their progress hindered not because of their ability, but because they are not as confident as their male peers in certain situations.

“The aim of the Future Skills Day was to give girls an opportunity to learn a variety of skills that can help them as they prepare to go to college, look for an apprenticeship or eventually apply for a job.

This included things like tips on what makes a CV stand out from the rest, and how to make a good impression in an interview.

The idea was for our experienced volunteers to pass on this knowledge in a relaxed and informal setting so that the girls went away feeling empowered and confident.”

After a quick ice-breaker session, the girls took part in a CV workshop before then moving on to a mock interview session. Alice said: “The girls were split into groups of five.

The students made up the interview panel with our volunteers as the candidates. Each candidate had to adopt a different persona – one was nervous, shy, and disinterested; the other energetic, engaged and confident.

“The aim of this activity was to demonstrate how confidence can have a big impact when you are applying for a place at college or university and, ultimately, sitting an interview for a job.”

After a networking lunch where the girls were able to chat to the Fawley volunteers, the visitors were given a coach tour of the site.

At the end of the event they headed home with a goodie bag – including a useful checklist of some of the hints and tips from the day.

Alice said: “Based on the feedback we had from the students and their teachers the event was a great success.

Hopefully, the girls went away feeling more confident than when they arrived and with some useful pointers about how they can make a good impression when it comes to writing a CV or having an interview.

Huge thanks to all the Fawley volunteers who took part, we could not have hosted the event without their support.”