The partnership was launched this this month to mark World Literacy Day on 8 September, and, in her capacity of ambassador for Lancome, Winslet spoke in support of the programme at the launch event.
“Reading and writing, for most of us, is as natural as breathing. But for one out of every seven women in the UK it is not. Lancôme and The National Literacy Trust want to help disadvantaged women to be able to communicate effectively, and help them to secure their first jobs,” she said.
The programme, ‘Words for Work: Women in Leadership’, aims to break down the barriers to success for young women by improving their literacy skills and confidence.
The programme has been launch in response to the fact that in England, 9% of young women (aged 16-24) are affected by illiteracy and 1 in 7 (14%) lack basic literacy skills, with illiteracy being more closely linked to low pay and the risk of unemployment than in any other developed country.
How does the programme work?
The Words for Work: Women in Leadership partnership will provide young women in disadvantaged communities with opportunities to develop their literacy and communication skills, build their confidence, and help them develop their talents and passions in order to overcome barriers to employment.
The initiative, which is the first of its kind in the UK, forms part of a global campaign by Lancôme titled Write Her Future, aimed at tackling the literacy crisis affecting the lives of 76 million young women around the world. The project was developed in association with NGO CARE.
The partnership will last for a minimum of three years. It will launch in three schools in London, Manchester and Nottingham in its first year, with The National Literacy Trust running each programme over the course of a full school term.
The National Literacy Trust will work with the teaching staff at each chosen school to select 25 young women aged 16-20, who stand to benefit most from the initiative, to take part in the full programme.
This includes a business immersion day at Lancôme’s offices; teacher-led workshops on areas including formal writing and presentation preparation and delivery; and talks from a panel of role models and inspiring women.