Empowering young women as sustainability leaders

For the past two years Vattenfall has generously supported a young woman from less advantaged background, through the Catalyse Change CIC learning and mentoring programme to help provide them with the inspiration, skills and confidence to be sustainability leaders and change makers.

Catalyse Change is a Bristol-based social enterprise supporting girls and young women, aged between 16 and 24, to develop sustainability skills and knowledge for ‘healthy, happy and green’ communities, careers and the planet. Our ‘pre-covid’ programme consisted of a three-day residential Catalyst Bootcamp at Bristol University followed by a 6 month mentoring programme.  However in 2020, due to the pandemic, it pivoted into an online Catalyst Summit, for teenage girls and young women who want to help save the world. 

Our Catalyst Summit brought together young women from across the UK - also from Europe and the Congo - to find their purpose and become confident change-makers. For girls and young women who want to make a difference but are not sure how to go about it and don’t feel like they have the confidence and skills. Thought-leaders and industry experts brought stories of how they charted a career in sustainability and talked about the core skills required today. They shared the lessons they’ve learned on developing confidence and coping with eco-anxiety. We were unsure whether the online format would still provide the same level of connection and motivation that our Catalyst Bootcamp created and inspired. However it was a great success and it meant that we were able to increase our capacity from 30 to over 60 young women attending and benefitting from the programme. 50 of them were then placed with mentors to support their learning journey. 

Sponsoring Nawal

"I would like to say a massive thank you for giving me the opportunity to develop many skills and grow into a mature young woman. Furthermore, I am grateful for the knowledge I was able to gain about global sustainability as I am now able to change my unethical ways of spending, living."

12 of the young women reflected on their experiences at the Catalyst Summit, which were kindly made into three short films, by Planet Shine.

The speakers, mentors and businesses involved represent a diverse range of sustainability sectors and knowledge, spanning everything from; renewable energy, organic food, politics, environmental campaigning, natural health care, green tech, ethical finance to communications. 

We would be really pleased to speak to any professional women working in sustainability who are interested in being a voluntary mentor for our 2021 programme. This involves two hours per month of your time for between 3-6 months, to support a young woman online, to help them explore and develop education and careers in sustainability. For more information about this programme read our blog.

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