A scheme to help inspire young Muslim girls to pursue unconventional careers has got off to a successful start.

Three Bradford women were chosen as role models by the National Muslim Women’s Advisory Group (MWAG) for the Communities and Local Govern-ment scheme. They will travel the country to share their experiences.

They are Shabana Kosar, a fire safety officer with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Aleesha Khan, a Topman manager, and Saima Hussian, a sports development officer and the only Asian member of the England women’s rugby team.

Shabana, 27, of Bradford Moor, spoke at the scheme’s first event in Rotherham, attended by girls aged between 13 and 20 and their parents.

She said: “It’s good to be given the opportunity to be seen as a role model and to be able to inspire and encourage others. It’s very important as many women from Muslim backgrounds could progress much further with their careers. It’s important to show them there are people in these types of jobs.

“Having role models gives you something to aspire to. They think, ‘If they can do it I can do it as well’. I wanted to do something interesting and different and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity go.”

Adeeba Malik, a member of the MWAG and deputy chief executive of Bradford charity Quest for Economic Development also spoke at the event. She said: “It was a huge success. The idea was to get parents to think about different occupations as well, as they have a lot of influence. The role models were inspirational. They told how they achieved what they have achieved.

“What we have been able to do is take some of the talent we have here to other parts of the country so women can share their experiences of growing up, living and working in Bradford.”

Further events will take place in Cardiff, London, Dudley, Manchester and Middlesbrough. The stories of the women taking part in the scheme can be found at ourchoices.org.uk.