Words for Work with Lancôme

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A partnership between the National Literacy Trust and Lancôme

Prepared. Empowered. Ready for Employment.


Words for Work: Women in Leadership tackles poor literacy among women from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme boosts self-confidence and helps to prepare participants as they embark on their career paths.


Addressing multiple facets of literacy – reading, writing, speaking and listening – Words for Work provides support through teacher-led workshops designed to improve literacy, communication and leadership skills. Students are also given guidance on speech writing and presenting. The programme is part of Lancôme's global Write Her Future initiative.

Words for Work inspires young women to work towards achieving their dreams. Lancôme and the National Literacy Trust host a panel event, which features inspiring women from a diverse range of careers and sectors. Participants also spend a day at Lancôme's offices where they can see the advantages that good literacy skills can bring and speak to Lancôme employees about their careers.


Lupita Nyong'o

Inspires students to nuture their self-esteem

Lupita Nyong'o shared words of wisdom with students from Harris Academies in London and advised them to surround themselves with people who bring out the best in them. The Oscar-winning actress, author and Lancôme Ambassador visited Harris Westminster Sixth Form in February 2020 to highlight the Words for Work: Women in Leadership literacy programme.

Over the course of the session, Lupita touched on many topics linked to literacy and self-confidence. She encouraged the students in attendance to cultivate their curiosity and to be prepared to face challenges. She also spoke about Sulwe, her illustrated book, which tells the story of a little girl as she learns to appreciate the beauty of her skin colour and gains in self-esteem.

Lupita's powerful self-confidence message certainly seemed to have hit home.

“I feel more encouraged about my self-worth,” said one attendee. “[It was a] great opportunity to value who I am as an individual”, added another.


“I was delighted to meet with the students of London's Harris Academy today. I am very moved by their energy and enthusiasm. It was a privilege to speak with them, share my book Sulwe, and to learn about their goals and challenges. My hope is that programmes such as ‘Words for Work' will help give young women the opportunity and confidence to share their voices.”


“To hear Lupita speak so eloquently and encouragingly about our futures was truly inspirational.”


“[will be] reflecting on
my actions and beliefs
[and] trying to be
more confident.”



In 2019 Lancôme launched the Lancôme Summer Internship as part of the Words for Work programme. Coordinated by the National Literacy Trust and Lancôme's Human Resources Department, two interns worked alongside the Lancôme Communications team, while one worked in Lancôme's Human Resources department.

Our Intern's Stories

Summer intern, 18 years old

“The first day of work was quite nerve-wracking, I had no previous experience in an office and I was not entirely confident. Rosie had met me on the ground floor after having signed me in and welcomed me with utmost encouragement for the first day and my time here at Lancôme. As of entering the office, I was greeted with rows of office desks, occupied by many individuals. This is realistic of an office space. I was challenged by nerves. Rosie introduced me to the team who kindly shook my hand and introduced themselves…”

I had sat down on my desk and Rosie stated we would do a floor walk. Though extremely terrifying, I understood and appreciated the idea that I would have the chance to form possible network relations with individuals and by doing this would feel more comfortable. Post floor walk, I was introduced to various sections of the office floor. I found working with voluminous workloads allow you to adapt your time management skills and help you understand and appreciate your responsibilities as an employee in the company.  One of the things I love, currently working here, is the sense of unity and the positive workplace culture. My team have been absolutely lovely, their kindness has been a reason why I have loved every aspect of this experience! This is an opportunity I will never forget. This has provided me with the confidence to apply for a wider range of jobs.”


Summer intern, 18 years old

“I completed a summer internship at global beauty company Lancôme’s head office in the Human Resources department. An opportunity like this definitely does not come by very often, especially when you come from an underprivileged background such as myself. My time here was filled with many new experiences and I am grateful towards the National Literacy Trust for allowing such a brilliant opportunity to take place…”

Before I actually got the internship I had to go through an interview process against five other very bright and enthusiastic girls. Initially, I was convinced that there was no way I would impress the L’Oréal team enough to secure a placement but I my doubts aside and decided to showcase my passion and hope for the best. The first week was all about adjusting. It was very overwhelming to be transported from a college environment where it was a maximum 30-minute journey to an actual office that took over an hour to get to! The following weeks were filled with induction, training sessions, meetings and even getting my hair done (for free!). The first task I was set was to create organisation charts for all the different brands that came under the umbrella of L’Oréal, it was crazy to think that I went from buying products from all these different brands to now spending my summer creating charts for them. I have had the chance to showcase my presentations that I created to various people and also shadowed human resource employees to meetings to find out more about the day to day life of being in human resources and what it actually entails. Beauty is definitely a passion of mine so it is a huge possibility that after I have completed my studies I will aim to re-enter the beauty industry, possibly in HR. I was made to feel very welcome and have created great relationships here. It just goes to show that regardless of what background you come from, you can still have the same opportunities as anyone else.”

Discover and Meet the Mentors

Ready to look for your first job?

Find the resources you need to get started and advice from our inspirational panel of mentors.

Discover and Meet the Mentors

By Lancôme and The National Literacy Trust

Educate. Empower. Employed.


Lancôme and the National Literacy Trust

As part of Lancôme's global Write Her Future initiative, Lancôme and the National Literacy Trust have been working together since September 2018 to support young women. Through our Words for Work: Women in Leadership programme we focus on helping groups of young women in post-16 education to enhance their literacy and leadership skills. By doing so, they in turn improve their employment prospects.

Read more on lancome.co.uk/discover-lancome/my-first-job