Women 1st has introduced a corporate membership scheme to help businesses “address gender imbalance at the top”.

Bourne Leisure, which operates Haven Holidays, Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlins, has become the first company to sign up to the new membership scheme.

Members will be given access to Women 1st’s training and mentoring programmes as well as discounted and free tickets to the annual Women 1st conference.

Sue Davies, head of human resources at Bourne Leisure, said: “We are working hard to increase gender balance in our leadership team at Bourne Leisure and create a diversity culture from the top down.

“A number of our female employees have undertaken Women 1st training and we have been delighted with the results, but we recognise that there is no ‘quick fix’ to increasing gender balance. We’re pleased to be forging this ongoing partnership with Women 1st to support the wider diversity agenda.”

Women 1st is the brainchild of sector skills council People 1st, which set up the initiative in 2009 after it found that, whilst almost 60% of the hospitality workforce is female, only 6% of board director positions are held by women.

Sharon Glancy, founder of Women 1st, added: “At a time when our industries are crying out for skilled managers and leaders, there are thousands of talented women who can step up to the plate – but they need the right support.

“Our membership programmes are designed to give businesses the opportunity to give female staff the skills, confidence and inspiration so they can feel empowered to take their careers to the next level.”