A new project to help girls and women NEETS (not in employment education or training) gain qualifications and employment has been launched by an award-winning local business.

The Empower Her project was devised by Hayley Darroch, owner of HD Beauty in Atherton, with co-founder Billy Darroch.

Together, they created Funding Futures – a not-for-profit social enterprise partnering with companies to offer opportunities to girls and women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“But we quickly realized that giving someone a piece of paper to say they can do something doesn’t remove the disadvantage or make it any easier for them to enter the working world,” explained Hayley.

“So, we developed Empower Her,” stated Hayley. “We wanted to take women on a journey from social or economic disadvantage to employment and equip them with everything they need along the way, removing any possible barriers which stop them gaining financial independence.”

Empower Her is a 10-week project taking 10 young girls or women on the path to employment, working on their confidence and self-belief, social and business skills transferable to any industry, accredited qualifications and work experience.

“We want to create a community feel within each project,” said Hayley, “providing those who attend with a sense of safety and belonging, allowing them to not only build on skills but create friendships for life.”

On completion of the project, each female receives three accredited qualifications allowing them to perform six beauty treatments, a professional kit so they can perform the first 10 of each treatment to earn income of up to £1,000, a uniform and their first year of public liability insurance.

They will also receive a written and digital copy of their CV, work experience in a live salon and a written reference.

Commented Billy: “They will have gained increased confidence and self-belief and social and business skills to allow them to build up and communicate with a client base, price for profit and have budgeting skills to replenish stock.

“We want to pilot as many of these projects as we can this year, to show how many women we can help into employment.

“We have multiple salons where we could offer work experience, paid employment or self-employment and a large salon network around the North-west where we could discuss placements for those who have completed the programme.”

Added Hayley: “Funding Futures is looking for businesses which have a passion for increasing social value to partner with them to change the lives of others.”

For more information email Empower@FundingFutures.co.uk