Find us at our new website!

We have now launched our new Ladies Who L-EARN who learn website. Please find us at for the latest information on the 2015 programme. Follow these links to meet the current team, find out about the workshops programme or get involved as a mentor.

Lord Mayor Dragon Awards Dinner

We were so pleased to be nominated with just two other organisations for a Community Partner Award at the Lord Mayor’s Mansion house dinner on 1 October. While there could only be one winner (well done to the Brigade Restaurant), we were pretty amazed that we made the cut from a pool of 21 applicants, many of which are known for doing really good work.

Ladies Who L-EARN is a Charity!

We’re pleased to say that we’ve now been granted charitable status for Ladies Who L-EARN. This doesn’t really change anything as the sole focus of You Make It’s work has been Ladies Who L-EARN as a programme of work since 2011 anyway. We’re currently working on a new Ladies Who L-EARN website and anyone visiting here will at some point in the near future be redirected to it. Until then, carry on perusing this site and we’ll keep it updated with our news as and when…

We’re recruiting new trustee positions

As we move towards becoming Ladies Who L-EARN the charity (watch this space) we’re now also looking for a couple of new trustee positions for it…a Chair and Treasurer. This is a FANTASTIC time to get involved – we’re going to grow and what we do is pretty much a lovely thing to be a part of. Click on the links below to find more out about these new volunteer roles with us:

Chair Spec

Treasurer Spec

Newham Anniversary Olympic Run

Great news! Isambard Poulson ran the 5km as part of the Newham Anniversary Olympic Run on 20 July and we made £5k for the next Ladies Who L-EARN programme (due to launch January 2015). Thank you so much. To remind, our target was to get the run sponsored to the tune of £1k in order to receive the maximum match funding promise of £4k from Spirit of 2012. Well done to all who took part, it was a great day.

Sponsor our runner, LWL former mentor Isambard Poulson

We’re one of just 6 organisations selected for the Olympic Anniversary run on 20 July by Spirit of 2012 Trust. For EVERY £1 we raise, they’ll MATCH it by £4. Isy has donated his legs to make the 20 miles for us, please follow the link and GIVE GIVE GIVE!

Ladies Who L-EARN and the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards

We’ve  been shortlisted with just 3 other organisations for the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Awards in the Community Partnerships category for the fantastic way in which State Street Bank engages with our mission. The winner will be announced in October.

Ladies’ Den Winner Update

3rd prize winner, Neuza Ceita,  is setting up a premium nail care and nail art service. She has been working hard with her mentor Conrad Poulson, Head of Start-Up Business Development for Orange, to identify her customers and get the equipment and materials she needs ready for her launch. Neuza says:

“The program has been really amazing and has helped me to get where I am now, which is launching my own premium nail business. I have worked with my coach on an amazing business plan that’s sure to be a success. Thank you LWL!”

Neuza is offering a 20% discount to new customers on gel nails, to book your consultation email

LWL reunion!

LWL graduates got together at Hoxton Hall to share achievements, inspiring stories and tips for success. The evening kicked off with Tamu Thomas who spoke about her efforts to juggle a freelance career in social work with her fashion label Kenema.

Heads down, busy with fundraising!

We’re HARD AT IT, trying to raise the funds we need to run not one but two LWL programmes annually in East London from early autumn. We’ve had some good news on that front from our ever amazing supporters, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and Clore Duffield Foundation, but there’s still a journey for us to travel as we’re now looking to build our very own permanent core staff team. Once we’ve got the money in, we’ll be advertising posts here, so keep a look out!

What is Ladies Who L-EARN really about?

Watch this participants’ vox pop film to find out how powerful and inspiring the programme is.


Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14 DAZZLED their audience at Graduation on Monday 24th February 









The main space of Rich Mix was rammed with people almost spilling out of the door to hear from our wonderful graduates of another successful Ladies Who L-EARN programme. Powerful, inspiring and authentic speeches were made and as per usual, there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. Here’s what some had to say:

“I joined LWL when my father had passed away and I was grieving. Asma told me this was my time now. I’ve since got 2 paid jobs – an evening one in retail but also a daytime one which is more linked to my dreams – a paid intern position of creative producer for Project Phakama!”  Graduate, Marzina Begum
“Throughout LWL we’ve met so many inspiring people who have one thing in common – they’re not afraid of taking risks. I now know that I’m setting up my business, I’m not afraid.”  Graduate, Neuza Ceita
“I feel confident and proud of myself because I never normally finish anything. This is the first time I have.”  Graduate, Jessica Rego
Before graduates each took to the stage to tell of their journeys on the programme and where they’re at now (several already in paid work!), founding director,  Asma Shah, told of plans to register Ladies Who L-EARN as a charity in its own right in order to expand its funding base so that the lives’ of more young women could be changed.She explained this was a must as the model has been extremely effective: “Of the two pilots run in 2011 and 2012/13 which started with 40 young women, 37 stuck to it and of these 80% are now in paid and mostly full time employment, or in formal and mostly higher education. Some of these women are also juggling such commitments with their own creative ventures.”
Other highlights of the evening included YMI Chair, Kate Morgan Locke (formerly responsible for commercial business opportunities at the Guardian), announce winners of the Ladies Den. First prize of £1000 and 6 months coaching with Kate went to Hazel Monteleone for her street food business Good Food Good Mood; second prize of £500 and 6 months coaching with Conrad Poulson (Head of Start Up Business Development for Orange) went to Neuza Ceita for Neuza’s Nails; and third prize of 6 months coaching with Ellen O’Hara (Head of Business Development for Cockpit Arts) went to Serina Lopez for her book of illustrations showing powerful female film leads.
Before partying to the records of barryslounge (our DJ for the night who by day is accountant and LWL workshop leader, Sydney Levinson), two graduates, Onyi Iwu and Sammy Hussain, encouraged the audience to complete Pledge Cards to help fund the next programme. Onyi is now in full time employment within the publishing industry, and Sammy has a full time role within the charity sector. Both highlighted how much they had gained from LWL not only from workshops and mentoring, but also through work placements including at the RSA. Sammy explained, “We women are ourselves putting our hands into our pockets to fund the launch workshop of the next programme, because we have really taken so much away from this and it’s important we give back.”

There are lots of ways that you can become involved in Ladies Who L-EARN. We are looking for a Chair and trustees of the new charitable structure, as well as mentors and work placement hosts for hopefully 2 annual programmes in the East End rather than 1. If you’d like to discuss any of these opportunities, please contact

The Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14 are proud to introduce themselves to you here.

I’m Nasim and was born in the United Arab Emirates but am full Somali and now live in Hackney! The eldest of 13 children, I’m automatically caring of others. I’m not sure what I want to do to earn my living but whatever it is, LWL is showing me the importance of doing it with passion and determination.

I’m Jessica from Hackney. I have recently finished my BTEC in fashion and art and I’m now looking to put into practice what I am learning to secure a paid job within the fashion industry. I joined LWL to gain confidence and build up my professional network.

Sorry there’s no picture of me, but I’m Carmel from hackney. I am very passionate about music and aspire to become a DJ one day. I’m on LWL to boost my confidence and to help plan a route into paid work.


I’m Azagilde and have lived in Hackney for around 8 years. I joined LWL to build my confidence, get a paid job and to give me the knowledge to open my own events business some day. My goals are passing my maths and English exams so I can go to university.


I’m Nazmin from Tower Hamlets. I have qualifications in Health and Social Care. Having heard about the benefits of LWL through a relative who completed the programme last year, I joined it to boost my confidence and to help me get a job.


I’m Neuza from Hackney. I’m passionate about nails and my aspiration is to one day run my own nail bar. I’m on LWL because I need the confidence and business know-how to learn how to become a successful business owner.


I’m Jannathara from Tower Hamlets. I have recently completed courses in Customer Service and Hospitality and Catering. I joined LWL to gain confidence and meet new people with an aim to get a HR related job in a corporate environment.


I’m Hazel from Hackney, though most of my life was spent in Tottenham. In my spare time I enjoy losing myself in films and socialising with my mates who are like my family. I want to run my own street food business and to get the confidence and knowledge to do this by being on LWL.


I’m Charline and I live in Hackney. My hobbies include drawing and designing clothes, listening to music, writing lyrics and reading. My ideal occupation would be to work in admin, preferably within a fashion environment. I’m on LWL to explore work and job search options.


I’m Sammy from Newham. A graduate of Social Anthropology, I actually have a multitude of passions, many of which are related to more creativity based careers and so this is what I now really want to explore on LWL.


I’m Blessing and I live in Hackney. I’m a graduate of Biomedical Sciences, but also think I’m quite creative. Through LWL I want to grow my confidence and develop a vision and goals related to finding paid work. I’ve got a lot of hobbies, including football!


I’m Rumi and I live in Tower Hamlets. I’m hooked to crime dramas and documentaries. My short-term goal is to get a paid job to pay off my student loan. But over the longer term I’d love to run my own business and LWL is helping me to understand how that’s done.


I’m Onyinye and I live in Woolwich, but I’m of Nigerian descent and until I was 13 lived in Italy. I’m an Architecture graduate, but my passion is illustration and my ambition is to become a full-time freelance illustrator and to also publish my own children’s book and graphic novels. LWL is giving me the confidence and knowledge of how….


I’m Imogen and from Shropshire, but now live in Hackney having moved to London for my degree at Central St. Martins. My passion sewing and I aspire to be comfortable, not too rich, not famous but not completely unimportant. I’m on LWL to see how others make a living from their creativity.


I’m Serena and I live in Hackney. I’ve got a degree in Illustration, which is my passion and what I hope to make a living from. My dream is to self publish a series of books, and to one day have an exhibition showing my work at a top gallery. LWL is showing me this could be possible.


I’m Marzina from Tower Hamlets. I’m a graduate of English Literature and I want to work in a museum or gallery. I’ve thought this would never be an option before, but that doesn’t seem the case on LWL. My hobby, which could also be a business one day, is making crafts inspired by traditional henna designs.


I’m Abenilde Sousa and I live in Hackney. I’m a Biomedical Sciences graduate, but I want to expand my knowledge of work related opportunities available to me across the cultural sectors while on LWL. My passion is in helping others.


I’m Mary and I live in Hackney now, but came to London from Vietnam. I graduated in Business Management, Marketing and Chinese in 2011, and since then I’ve learned that a passion for baking is what I want to earn a living from as my own business venture. I’ve tried a few times and almost given up, but then LWL came along…


I’m Aramide from Hackney. I studied Business and International Relations at London Metropolitan University. I am on LWL to gain new skills, develop new contacts and to eventually start my own business. My long term ambition is to become an entrepreneur and a writer.


I’m Lisa from Dagenham. I graduated with an Accountancy and Finance degree. I have a passion for making things. I joined LWL to develop my self-confidence, skills, networking and as a foundation for building my own business. My aspiration is to become a professional wig maker and have my own my hair/wig company.


You Make It are proud to announce the award winners of Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14. Tomorrow we launch our six month long programme at the Barbican. Following this, the first half of the programme continues with weekly workshops at a range of exciting places of work including Google, Forward, Rich Mix and Oxford House.

We have met with many young women largely at job centres over the past weeks, almost all of whom decided to apply for a place once they heard from the You Make It Director about what they could benefit from and what other graduates of the programme have gone on to achieve. We’re also really pleased that applications came in from young women who are friends of former graduates of Ladies Who L-EARN. Following shortlisting and interviews we have decided to award 21 young women with places, mostly from Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The closing date for applications to take part in Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14 is fast approaching. Spread the word that they need to be in for Monday 9 September! Some great applications have already landed – exciting times all over again! 20 young women to be awarded a place will be announced at the end of the month, so WATCH THIS SPACE!

We’re ready to receive applications from young women who want to get lucky and win a place on Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14. DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS MONDAY 9 SEPTEMBER!

Right, so we’re at it again. The application round for Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14 is now open, so if you’re aged between 18-30, are out of work,  live in London and want the chance to really change how you experience life here, then this could be your lucky day. You Make It has delivered Ladies Who L-EARN twice in the East End now and each time the young women who win a place love it, stick with it, and go on to enter paid work, set up business or secure places in Higher Education.

For more information about what it all involves, download our Questions + Answers resource here: LWLQ+A And to apply for a place, download an application form here: LWLApplication.docx  Stepping up for new opportunities can be scary, but no pain, no gain – GO FOR IT! Following interviews and shortlisting, the programme starts on 4 October 2013 and completes close March 2014. For a flavour of what being awarded a place could mean you accessing, take a look at this short film about Ladies Who L-EARN 2012/13

You Make It is hiring a Project Manager – could it be you? 

A great opportunity has come up to work for You Make It. We’re looking for an exceptional and very experienced Project Manager to work closely with our Founding Director to ensure that our Ladies Who L-EARN programme in the East End continues to be the huge success it has been to date, and to pilot ways of making sure that we can get this amazing programme going in other geographic areas. Closing date for CV and cover letter is Friday 26 July, 5pm. Click this Link to download the JD and person spec (and best of luck!).

You Make It is nearly there with our fundraising…..

You Make It is SO excited to announce that we’re not THAT far from reaching our fundraising target for 2013/14. On top of Esmee Fairbairn’s continued support, State Street Foundation are backing the Ladies Who L-EARN programme in the East End for the 2nd year running, and we’ve now also got a new funder on board – the Forward Foundation – who as well as supporting our work in the East End, are also helping us plot ways of extending elsewhere! It won’t be too long before we launch our official campaign to recruit 20 more young women to take part in what promises to be another amazing opportunity. WATCH THIS SPACE.

What we’ve been up to since the Ladies Who L-EARN 2012/13 cohort graduated

It continues to be a busy time for You Make It. Since the 2012/13 programme completed, we’ve been working hard to raise investment to make sure we can get Ladies Who L-EARN 2013/14 up and running in the East End again from this autumn. We’re also trying to work out how to make sure it’s not only women from our local patch who benefit from the programme. We’ll keep you updated with progress on all of this over the coming months.

We’ve also got a full written evaluation report of Ladies Who L-EARN 2012/13, which was produced on a pro bono basis by BOP Consulting. If you’re interested in having a read, then please email the You Make It Director:

Ladies Who L-EARN 2012/13 Graduation party @ Rich Mix London was on Monday 22 February!

Our graduates made some incredible acceptance speeches and really did shine to a large audience (there weren’t enough seats to go around!) of You Make It supporters that included representatives from London’s leading arts, cultural and creative organisations and City firms who have engaged with our Ladies Who L-EARN initiative through mentoring, delivering workshops and hosting work placements, as well as trusts and foundations who have made a financial investment into the work.

One graduate of the programme, Sada Cole, who has now secured full time paid employment while hatching her own business idea, thanked the audience saying “You may not realise that by taking time out of your lives’ for us, you’re breathing life back into us.” A staff member from State Street Bank, one of our cash and in-kind investors, also took to the stage to endorse the programme. Their Head of Talent Acquisition said “The organisation behind this work is so strong, it’s so well run, and it’s really easy to give time for something like this.”

Another colleague from the Royal Opera House highlighted their very positive experience of hosting a work placement, saying that by the time their candidate was ready to take it up, she had gone through months of workshops which had made her “keen and ready to make the most of it…so much so that we’ve agreed to bring her back for another stint with us.”

On awarding certificates YMI Founding Director, Asma Shah, said “Ladies, I’ve been working with you now for some months and I remember so clearly our first meeting at what in most cases were your job centres. I can honestly say that I don’t worry for any of you. You’re hard working, resilient, confident and newly networked women and yes, you’ll get your knock backs because life’s not fair or easy and it’s tough out there, but I know you’re now equipped to overcome any barriers to ensure you lead the lives’ you want and deserve to lead.”

Another highlight of the evening was Ellen O’Hara, Head of Business Development at Cockpit Arts and YMI board member, announcing the winners of our business pitch prize. O’Hara explained that the panel, herself and Matthew Stafford of Student Upstarts, had found awarding just one prize extremely difficult because of the passionate and well thought through pitches made by our emerging entrepreneurs. As such 3 prizes were awarded comprising a mix of financial investment and 1-1 business coaching to Shamarla Rose McNairn for her affordable urban clothing label – Space Hopper Graphics, Mary Zreik for her high-end textiles lines, and business partners Samantha Mokonz & Tusharna Francis for their organic hair products to bring back the afro!

Ladies Who L-EARN 2012/13 is almost complete…..

We are now just weeks away from coming to the end of what has been another successful Ladies Who L-EARN programme  with the 3 month long weekly workshop programme completed in mid December, and young women now wrapping up work placements. On 12 February those LWL who have been inspired to think about setting up their own ventures will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of business experts for a small cash prize of £500 towards their start up costs and the PRICELESS opportunity to receive 1-1 business coaching to help them go that bit further towards launching their own thing! The winner will be announced at our graduation party on Monday 18 February @ Rich Mix.

Ladies Who L-EARN Show Off Their Wares!

Shamarla Rose-McNairn, 22 from Hackney, sold her Spacehopper Graphics urbanwear alongside other Ladies Who L-EARN participants, selling handmade cards by Lina Begum, 22 from Tower Hamlets, at Old Spitalfields Market. The Trading Places market stall project was a great success! Check out the gallery for pictures from the day.

Ladies Who L-EARN 2012-13 fellows announced

Bright young sparks from Tower Hamlets and Hackney have been awarded a place on this year’s Ladies Who L-EARN programme, which is connecting them to new places, people, experiences and ideas to ensure they realise their voice, value and earning potential in one of the most exciting cities in the world.