Melody Hossaini speaking to staff at University of Brighton

On Tuesday 22nd March 2016, I was invited to deliver a keynote at the ‘Make it Happen’ conference at University of Brighton. The conference which brought together some 100 staff from all levels at the University, had the aim of advancing women in the workplace and inspiring them as individuals.

This is an area that has formed a large part of the work we have undertaken at InspirEngage International, as well as my speaking tours (see blog on our work at the most influential gathering on women’s issues in the world; The Women’s Forum here). The world is waking up the importance of supporting and engaging women to prosper and to be ambitious enough to want what they deserve. Underlying issues remain around pay gap and lack of representation in certain sectors.

Within my 30 minute presentation, I covered the following components:

  • What the current landscape looks like for gender equality and pipeline for advancement of women
  • Statistical data in the difference in cognitive abilities and ambition traits of men and women
  • Studies on what women have expressed they require for fulfilment and retention in the workplace
  • The changing dynamics in the business world with growth of social enterprise
  • Practical tool on reconnecting participants with their personal purpose and career goals
  • Dialogue with colleagues, sharing insight, challenges and opportunities for change and social impact

It was a great session and I was struck by the depth in thinking on the matter and willingness to practically improve the situation. I urge other educational institutions to engage their teams on this topic. The power lies in addressing unconscious bias, challenging unjust processes that hold women back, encouraging women to become more confident and allowing each person to connect with their personal purpose and connect this to their role.


“Great conference and great presentation. Thank you.” Mairead Stickings, Staff, University of Brighton

“Fascinating talk by Melody” Nicola Ashton, Alumni Engagement Officer, University of Brighton

“Inspiring talk by social entrepreneur @Melody_Hossaini @InspirEngage “what we think we become” “create your own reality” – Penny Simpson, HR Member of Staff, University of Brighton


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Speaking at the Apprenticeship Graduation, 18 June

Yesterday, I was invited to attend and speak at the Leicestershire Apprenticeship Graduation at De Montfort Hall. I’ve always liked the model of apprenticeships. Learn and earn whilst working- but yesterday, I found new passion for it! Seeing the impact on the graduates, and how it had provided a path to success for so many who the traditional model had failed – but also those who simply found this to be the winning model and do not fancy the debts of a degree at Uni.

The Graduates 18 June

When delivering my keynote (pictured above) to an audience of graduates, parents, businesses, city council members and Mayor (Peter Soulsby – who was such a gent and extremely passionate about the cause), I emphasised the point that we shouldn’t devise simply one way to success- it’s a conscious choice on what suits you and your goal. I heartily congratulate those who are courageous enough to choose theirs, like the graduates had done yesterday. I was also honoured to present ‘The Apprentice of The Year’ to Kaifer Williams from South Leicestershire College!

In the late afternoon, I was invited to speak at the Leicester LEP who hosted a conference for businesses interested in Apprenticeships and their providers. Great hearing from fellow speakers, including a beautifully passionate presentation by Marion Plant, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire & Hinckley College and South Leicestershire College. But how can we increase the numbers and offer this fantastic model to more individuals.

  • Firstly, there is a slight sense of irony. We bill apprenticeships as an ‘alternative’ route to traditional and rigid University degrees and qualifications, and yet, our focus is so qualification-centered on apprenticeships. Needless to say it’s an essential part of apprenticeships and another model to achieving qualifications, but we shouldn’t lose emphasis on apprenticeships being about ‘learning by doing’ and earning- which is what is the main attraction to a lot of ‘non-traditional educational’ young people.
  • Although apprenticeship learning offers such a wide exposure to skill areas and core qualification subjects, sometimes the missing link can be the simple foundation life skills. Skills like showing up and having eye-contact, shaking hands and introducing yourself and being able to interact and show initiative. These are the basics to not only the individual feeling more prepared and confident, but also it decreases the risk to businesses who take them on, in them being work-ready, therefore needing less training for the basics.

    Speaking to BBC News

    This is why at InspirEngage, we deliver the the Life Skills Bootcamps that equip young people with the basic skills, attitude and confidence which compliments the rest of their learning, but importantly, also, encourage those who may not have put themselves forward, to consider it.

  • The graduation was being held in Leicester, a city with a very high population of Indians. At InspirEngage International we have spoken to numerous young people from those communities who feel they might want to explore options like apprenticeships but feel they are unable to because their parents would not accept it, as an alternative to University and traditional routes. This can be addressed and we are beginning those conversations.

We want to thank Leicestershire Apprenticeship Hub and the LLEP for hosting this event and welcoming myself and InspirEngage to be a part of celebrating such an important journey for the graduates.

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