24 May 2023

Inspiring young dreams: how business can help

WISE, Chapter One and panellists from BT, Ocado Group and Sellafield debate how we can build confidence in children from disadvantaged backgrounds

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Aspirations in childhood are an important driver for achievements in adult life. However, studies show that children from lower socio-economic groups have lower expectations. On 17 May Chapter One and WISE (Women Into Science and Engineering), hosted an online discussion with panellists from BT, Ocado Group and Sellafield Ltd about how we can all build confidence in these children.

Topics discussed:

  • Reading for pleasure as a foundation for STEM
  • Closing the education gap
  • Encouraging young children to consider careers in STEM
  • Improving school outreach programmes
  • Ensuring a wider and more diverse talent pool
  • Challenges for businesses engaging with schools
  • Examples of successful programmes

Panel members:

  • Lily Dobbs, BT, Transformation Specialist – Network Operations
  • Stuart McCourt, Sellafield Ltd, Education, Community and Development Lead
  • Suzanne Westlake, Ocado, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs
  • Katherine Watson, WISE, Head of Products & Services – Projects
  • Sarah Taylor, Chapter One, Business Development Manager

Sellafield Ltd, Stuart McCourt, Education, Community and Development Lead

Within Sellafield Ltd, Stuart works as part of the team responsible for ensuring they deliver the maximum social impact to their local communities from the taxpayers investment at Sellafield every year. In particular, his work focuses on developing and delivering projects which remove barriers and address inequalities to enable more people to access a sustainable income either now or in the future.

Ocado, Suzanne Westlake, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Corporate Affairs

Suzanne Westlake is Head of Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Affairs at Ocado Group. Ocado Group provides a technology solution to grocers around the world looking to provide consumers with best-in-market customer experience. It also owns a 50 per cent share in Ocado Retail, a joint venture with M&S in the UK, trading as Ocado.com. Suzanne is responsible for implementing Ocado Group’s Corporate Responsibility Strategy, Ocado Unlimited, and ensures that Ocado focusses its efforts where its impact will be greatest. She is also responsible for Ocado’s engagement throughout Government and Parliament.

Prior to joining Ocado in May 2014, Suzanne was CR Manager, DHL UK for 8 years and before that BAA where she was Sustainability Manager. Suzanne has a Degree and a Masters in Food & Nutrition and graduated from Warwick Business School with an MBA in 2003.

Lily Dobbs, Transformation Specialist, BT

Physicist turned technologist – Lily leads on automation in BT's Network Operations Transformation Team with experience across operations, network and software engineering.

She is passionate about science communication and female representation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers and is very proud to be a WISE Young Professionals Board member. She’s also an enthusiastic and proactive mentor, STEM Ambassador and diversity advocate. And the creator and co-founder of 2sistersinSTEM.com a blog where her and her sister share stories and experiences to empower and inspire more young people to pursue careers in STEM.

Chapter One, Business Development Manager, Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor is Business Development Manager at Chapter One, the online literacy programme which supports 2,000 children attending schools in disadvantaged communities across the UK. Sarah has worked for several charities and NGOs including Christian Aid, Chatham House, Best Beginnings and LawWorks. She specialises in developing corporate partnerships which have a positive impact on society.

WISE, Interim Head of Products and Services Delivery, Katherine Watson

Katherine Watson - WISE Team

Katherine Watson leads on the development and execution of all WISE projects, the delivery of data analysis for all WISE products and services, and our My Skills My Life outreach tool. Outside of work, Katherine is a Guide Leader, avid board gamer, baker, allotment owner and bullet journaller!