England legend Kelly Smith helps launch SSE campaign to inspire positive change on and off the football pitch

England legend Kelly Smith helps launch SSE campaign to inspire positive change on and off the football pitch.

Women’s FA Cup sponsor SSE has launched a new campaign designed to inspire positive change on and off the football field.

The #TogetherWeCan campaign will not only shine a light on the progressive strides being made in developing the women’s game but also acknowledge the energy firm’s proactive work as a responsible, diverse and inclusive employer, helping more women access the energy industry and promoting opportunities in the energy sector for girls throughout schools across England.

England legend Kelly Smith helps launch SSE campaign to inspire positive change on and off the football pitch

SSE Wildcats

The utilities supplier has already demonstrated its commitment to help grow the game thanks to the SSE Wildcats programme. The grassroots initiative which encourages girls aged 5-11 to play football, launched in 2017 with the creation of some 200 football centres, encompassing over 5,000 new players. This year, it’s anticipated that participation will significantly increase with over 900 football centres expected to open their doors to 24,000 young girls the length and breadth of the country.

Off the field, SSE is equally driven to offer equal opportunities regardless of gender. This is demonstrated in a number of key areas including a more coordinated approach to the work it does in schools and universities to promote engineering careers, a more inclusive approach to recruitment practices and a series of policy reviews to help offer greater flexibility to those already working in, or entering the industry.

England legend Kelly Smith helps launch SSE campaign to inspire positive change on and off the football pitch

Teach First Initiative

One such initiative already enjoying success is a partnership with educational charity Teach First, aimed at helping girls reach their full potential in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The partnership with Teach First allows SSE to reach over 200,000 school children across England and Wales.

As part of this year’s 2017/18 SSE Women’s FA Cup campaign, SSE will engage a number of Teach First partner schools via a network of Women’s FA Cup trophy visits harnessing the power of football to drive STEM related learning and activities. The trophy tour will be supported by players from Women’s Super League and Women’s Premier League clubs who will help to deliver an inspirational message to young girls, and boys, to be the best they can be.

John Stewart, SSE’s Director of Human Resources, said: “We’re extremely proud to support The SSE Women’s FA Cup; a competition which gives opportunities to clubs across the country no matter how big or small and inspires a new generation of young female talent to follow their dreams and hopefully, one day, realise their ambitions.

SSE is equally driven to nurture and develop talent off the field and we firmly believe that everyone deserves the same opportunities regardless of gender. That’s why we’re continually exploring new ways in which to make our organisation, and the energy industry as a whole, more accessible to young females who may not have otherwise considered a career in that field. This work is exemplified by our partnership with Teach First, where we’re helping girls to reach their full potential in STEM based subjects. Partnerships like this have seen SSE recognised as a global leader by Equileap, an organisation aiming to accelerate progress towards gender equality in the workplace.”

England legend Kelly Smith helps launch SSE campaign to inspire positive change on and off the football pitch

All-time leading England goal-scorer, Kelly Smith, who supported the #TogetherWeCan launch, added: “It’s great to see a company like SSE provide a platform for girls and women to flourish, whether in the classroom, at work or on the football field. Together We Can offers a really positive message and embodies what can be achieved if everyone pulls in the same direction.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, also praised the initiative: “Getting more women and girls to take up sport is one of our key priorities. It’s fantastic to see the popularity of women’s football continue to rise and it is great that this investment and support by SSE will help further encourage more women and girls into the game.”

Russell Hobby, Chief Executive of education charity Teach First, commented: “We’re delighted to be able to support the Together We Can campaign. At Teach First our mission is to help young people turn their aspirations into reality, whatever their background. Through our partnership with SSE we aim to help girls reach their full potential in science, technology, engineering and maths. The SSE Woman’s FA Cup and the Together We Can campaign is another great opportunity to inspire the next generation of female scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”

The SSE Women’s FA Cup continues on Sunday 18 March when the last eight teams face off for a place in the Semi Finals, which will be broadcast live on the BBC for the first time ever.

The SSE Women’s FA Cup final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 5 May (kick off 5.30pm). Kids go FREE to the showpiece final, while adult tickets are £15 and concessions (OAPs and students) are £5. Tickets are available to purchase at www.thefa.com/tickets.

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