Bentley has successfully completed its first ‘Extraordinary Women’ mentorship programme, with the visit of five members of its first cohort to Bentley’s headquarters in Cheshire.
The programme is designed to inspire the next generation of female talent and has engaged female students in the fields of technology, engineering, design and business, at partner universities in the UK and Middle East.
During a week long programme of activity, the students had the opportunity to explore various aspects of Bentley’s manufacturing operations in Crewe, learn more about products and business strategy, join panel talks with senior leaders and trainees from Bentley’s early careers cohort and pitch their project ideas to colleagues from the Sales and Marketing team.
Member of the Board for Human Resources, Dr Karen Lange, explained: “Women remain under-represented in many key areas of our business, so as part of our Beyond100 goals, we are extending our efforts to reach female students – particularly those studying STEM topics – and offer them insights into our business and the wide-range of careers that we offer.
“We are delighted that our first visit and mentoring programme has been a success and I particularly enjoyed meeting with the students and seeing how they applied their academic insights to the business challenges we set them. We will use their input and feedback from the week to improve our outreach activities further still.”
Sara Almarzooqi, who is studying Computer Science at the American University in Sharjah, reflects on having been invited to take part in the programme: “It’s been a privilege to have participated in the first-ever Extraordinary Women Mentoring Programme and I could not think of a better way to have immersed myself in the brand whilst also learning more about engineering and technology from various women in the engineering team at Bentley Motors. Travelling to the UK to see the factory and meet some inspiring women behind this brand was a remarkable experience.”
Sofia Ragni, who is studying Automotive Engineering at Warwick University in the UK added: “The week has been a great insight into what goes in to designing and building luxury cars – and how the Bentley brand is evolving after one hundred years.
“It was great to find out more about the craftsmanship that goes into each car, hear from Bentley’s leaders about their own career paths and insights – and see just how central sustainability is to Bentley’s future.
“The experience has definitely sparked my interest in further work experience and opportunities in this sector.”
This was the first of an ongoing initiative from Bentley, which aims to inspire and educate generations of young women across the globe and to help equip them to take up leadership positions in their chosen professional field. The next chapter of Extraordinary Women will soon be introduced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
> Eight students have been mentored through the ‘Extraordinary Women’ programme, with mentors including entrepreneurs from sectors such as engineering, business and design, alongside academics and Bentley experts > The initiative aims to inspire young women with the broad range of career opportunities available in the luxury automotive sector > During a week-long visit students travelled from both the United Arab Emirates and the UK to gain unique insights into the Bentley business and automotive careers > Extraordinary Women supports Bentley’s Beyond100 strategy and goals to achieve 30 per cent diverse management by 2025