International Women’s Day project puts future female industry leaders centre stage

Female students studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects at Ron Dearing UTC have been given a unique platform to share their thoughts and ambitions on becoming future sector leaders.

Harper Fox Partners, a Partner of the employer-led school, has launched its ‘Declarations From Our Future Female Leaders’ project as part of its ‘From Classroom to Boardroom Alliance’, which inspires students to be the best they can be at the highest level.

Eighteen female Ron Dearing UTC students have submitted written declarations on what it means to them to be a future female leader in STEM, as International Women’s Day takes place today.

It is the first employer-led project Harper Fox Partners has run in partnership with the school and the declarations will be showcased across the company’s social media channels and on its website over the next two weeks.

Harper Fox Partners is an innovative recruitment company pioneering leadership and executive search solutions for the global energy, engineering, technology and manufacturing industries.

It recognises skills shortages within the energy, technology and engineering sectors across the world and aims to encourage young people to pursue a career within these industries, particularly females.

The company was founded by The Apprentice 2019 finalist Scarlett Allen-Horton and Lord Sugar, who hosts the hit BBC television series, has since invested in her business.

Year 12 student Kate Hickingbottom has taken part in the ‘Declarations From Our Future Female Leaders’ project.


Highlights of the declarations from Ron Dearing UTC students have been filmed and will be shared online, including via the company’s YouTube channel, as part of the project backed by Lord Sugar.

As part of her declaration, Year 12 Engineering, Biology and Chemistry student Kate Hickingbottom, 16, said: “Studying STEM is an amazing opportunity to explore what has always fascinated me. STEM is constant around the world and it’s a global community with a common language.

“I want to carry on discovering as much as I can through studying STEM to be able to give back to the world in valuable ways that I’m passionate about. I’d like to inspire other girls to not be afraid of studying STEM.

“I hope that by continuing to study and succeed in STEM, I can help normalise women being leaders in the industry based solely on their abilities, not their gender.”

Fellow Year 12 Engineering, Physics and Maths student Catherine Crees, 16, said being involved in the project has enabled her to share her views on equality with a wider audience.

In her declaration, she said: “As a potential future leader in STEM, my hope is that the role is genderless and given to the best possible person for the job, whether they are a woman, man, or of the LGBTQ+ community.

“As a woman going into STEM, my hope is everyone is equal and respected, has the opportunity to show what they can do, and rises to the level of management they aspire too.”

Year 12 student Catherine Crees has been able to share her views on equality with a wider audience.


As the partnership with Ron Dearing UTC grows, Harper Fox Partners, which has offices in London and Birmingham, plans to offer mentorship and work experience to students, as well as motivational talks, interview techniques, networking and more.

Scarlett, Founder and Business Director of Harper Fox Partners, said: “In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re delighted to have launched ‘Declarations From Our Future Female Leaders’, working in collaboration with Ron Dearing UTC.

“We wanted to look to the next generation of future female leaders in STEM to understand how the students view the sector and what their personal aspirations are to inspire a gender diverse sector, whilst inspiring them to become our decision makers.

“The students involved have displayed incredible talent, ambition and passion and we’re delighted to share their declarations during the month of March with the world.”

Glenn Jensen, Senior Assistant Principal for Employer Engagement and Head of Engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said the project is helping to shine a light on the industry gender gap.

He said: “It’s amazing that companies such as Harper Fox Partners are highlighting there is still a gender gap in STEM and the arts, and they’re championing the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace.”