Following its successful launch in the UK and the United Arab Emirates last year, the 2023 programme is being expanded in the UK as well as being rolled out for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Part of Bentley’s wider Diversity and Inclusion commitment under its Beyond100 strategy, the Extraordinary Women programme is designed to encourage women to consider careers in STEM and automotive.
Bentley is partnering with a number of leading UK universities to deliver the programme, including Loughborough, Bath, Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as a partner university in Saudi Arabia, Dar Al Hekma University. Central to the programme, the brand will also partner with a number of Extraordinary Women (Pioneers), who have demonstrated their own commitment to the fields of engineering, design, technology and business, and have their own extraordinary success stories to tell.
At a virtual launch event held on 6 March, ahead of International Women’s Day, and hosted by Dr Karen Lange, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Human Resources, students from the partner universities were able to learn more about the initiative and how to apply.
Bentley will now work with the universities to identify the students who will be selected to take part in the programme, with one place available per university. Successful applicants will enjoy one-to-one mentoring with experienced Bentley staff and the extraordinary Pioneers, ahead of attending a one-week programme at Bentley headquarters in Crewe this June, where they will work with Bentley teams on live projects to put the learnings from their mentoring experience to good use
Member of the Board for Human Resources, Dr Karen Lange, explained:
“Pursuing a constructive and mutually beneficial diversity policy is an essential part of our Beyond100 strategy, and in particular our goal to achieve 30% diverse management by 2025. Our bespoke Extraordinary Women programme is a key component of this, and one that we are proud to be implementing across an increasing number of countries.
Mentoring remains an important development tool at Bentley. Witnessing the success of the first year of the programme, and the positive feedback from the young women who participated in it, was rewarding for all involved. We are excited for what is to come, and look forward to welcoming more talented young women on-board to help them develop their knowledge of careers in STEM and automotive.”
Sofia Ragni, who is taking a BEng in Automotive Engineering at the University of Warwick, was selected for the inaugural programme in 2022. After it concluded, she was offered and accepted an industrial placement at the company.
“My experience on the Bentley Extraordinary Women programme has fundamentally changed my perspective on my future career path, leading me to take on a placement before graduating rather than just graduating as fast as possible,” she explained. “It also provided me with invaluable industry exposure and knowledge, reinforcing my decision to choose the course I have, and meaning that Bentley is now top of my list of places to work. I would definitely recommend this programme to others, as one experience can change your whole outlook on what you want to do in the future.”