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Networx3 bosses meet Lancashire teenage jobseekers to talk interview fails and winning in the world of work

Ian Ashworth, managing director of Networx3

Networx3’s bosses will be inspiring teenagers with their stories about smashing through glass ceilings and job interview hacks next month.

Founder and managing director Ian Ashworth and commercial director Caroline Earnshaw will be sharing their decades of experience in business with students from Nelson and Colne College and Accrington and Rossendale College.

More than 120 16-year-olds will take part in four Oysters and Pearls and Centre Forward events during March.

The Oysters and Pearls events on March 9 and 13 match 60 female students with 60 inspirational working women for a day of motivation and confidence building led by former professional stage and TV actress Amy Strange.

The Centre Forward events on March 10 and 12 bring together 60 male students with local businessmen – from sales directors to ex-footballers – to boost employability and interview skills.

Ian and Caroline jumped at the chance to get involved after meeting the events’ organiser Wendy Bowers, founder of consultancy business Role.

Networx3, which specialises in installing blown fibre optic communications infrastructure, was founded by Ian, a mechanical engineer, in 2003.

Since then it’s grown into an industry-leading firm with clients including government departments, critical infrastructure sectors, mobile phone giants and renewable energy utility companies. The company is based in Great Harwood, Blackburn, and has a 19-strong team including certified drone pilots, engineers and ecologists.

In a career spanning 30 years Ian has interviewed scores of potential employees and will be sharing his experience of good and bad interviews, pitfalls to avoid and what makes a candidate stand out from the crowd.

He said: “We really struggle to recruit so we are always on the lookout for keen and hardworking school or college leavers, particularly female, who we can train up to be engineers. We’re less interested in academic qualifications and are looking for people with get up and go, passion and connectivity with Networx3 so we’re hoping to meet a few future Networx3 employees at the events too.”

Caroline will be sharing how she worked her way up from the typing pool to the boardroom in just two years.

She said: “I’m hoping to inspire youg girls that they can achieve things – I’m living proof of that. All my family were doctors, solicitors and teachers so I was the odd one out not going to university. I didn’t get a degree but because I have a work ethic and passion I’m where I am today.”

Caroline left Blackpool and Fylde College after finishing her A levels and went to work in the property sector. By the time she was 24 she was managing a multi-million pound portfolio of 500 properties but was unhappy.

She joined Networx2 in 2013 in an administrative role to start all over again in a male-dominated industry she knew nothing about.

Caroline said: “I gave 100% to the job and it was recognised that I had a lot more to give and within two years I was made commercial director.”