7 Charlotte Gascoigne remembers her time organising WiP's training
Certainly by the time I joined WiP training was a very important part of what WiP did because it was about giving women the skills to hold their own against men when it came to promotion and getting into jobs, recruitment and senior management and so on. So, I think building skills and building confidence was a really important part of that.
And as a member of the committee, what was your role?
Well we’d meet every month and we would, I mean we’d plan the year, the training for the year ahead. So we had a little leaflet every year. Again in the pre-internet days you had to decide a year in advance what your courses were going to be, and then once we’d decided the annual programme, then it was finding the speakers.
So every year you’d have to find people who could speak about finance, people who could speak about commissioning, and we were very keen to encourage women who maybe didn’t see themselves as trainers, or maybe didn’t see themselves as presenters or speakers to have the confidence to stand up and, you know if they had the knowledge, to stand up and do a presentation about it, ‘cos that was a big deal in the mid-‘80s, that, you know we’d often ring people up and they’d say ‘Oh, no. You know I don’t think I could do that kind of thing’, and we’d say, ‘Well, why not?’
So we were encouraging people to become trainers and speakers as well as encouraging participants in the courses to develop their skills. So it was a mutual thing.
And each of us on the training committee would organise maybe a couple a year. So if it was your course then you would go to Book House in Wandsworth on the Saturday morning, you’d be there at like 8.30 in the morning, set up the tea and coffee, you know, make sure all the speakers came, make sure they had all the handouts they needed, tick everyone off on a list, deal with the late comers, make sure everyone had their tea and coffee, generally make sure that everyone was, that the speakers were there, that they were doing what they were supposed to do, and that the participants were all having a good time. [Laughs]
So you were giving up quite a bit of your free time.
I was, yes. I enjoyed them. I really did. I mean it was my, it was, I actually enjoyed all of this. I enjoyed being part of the committees; I enjoyed organising the courses. And it was development for me as well. I don’t think it was something that came naturally to me, but it was something that I knew I had to learn to do – to ring up speakers, you know, to make contacts. I’m not a natural networker, so these were all things that I was learning to do. And WiP gave me the opportunity to do that.