On Wednesday 25 April Career Ready celebrated their annual UK Awards at The SandBox, Canary Wharf, to honour outstanding young people, volunteers and schools on the programme.

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With winners across five categories, the event honoured young people who have excelled on the programme, volunteers who have made an outstanding difference to the life of a Career Ready student, and schools who are an example of best practice in helping young people for the world of work.

Following a regional nomination process, awards were given out by former students of the Career Ready programme who have since gone on to enjoy the start of a successful career. Awards were handed out in the following categories: Leidos UK Student of the Year; Citi Bank Volunteer of the Year; Standard Life Aberdeen Mentor of the Year; Santander Employability Champion of the Year; AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year.

Jephta Asamoah, 18, from Barking & Dagenham College in London, was one of two Leidos UK Student of the Year award winners. During his time on the Career Ready programme, Jephta received mentoring from Alan Morgan at Portland Communications, as well enjoyed a paid four-week internship at Portland Communications.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been named as the Leidos UK Student of the Year. Before I started the programme, I was a frustrated and angry young man, fed up of being told that I couldn’t do things because of my disability. Now, I’m working with directors and CEO’s and I’ve just accepted a place to study Politics and Lancaster University. I knew Career Ready was going to change my life – and it has!”

Jephta Asamoah

Kiara Ross, 17, from Elgin High School in Moray, Scotland, was also named as the Leidos UK Student of the Year award winner. Kiara has been transformed during her time on the Career Ready programme. Prior to starting the programme, she was facing expulsion from school with no plans in place. Following the support of her Mentor – Karen Lees from Moray Council – and a paid internship at Moray Council, she is now about to start a Law Degree at the Open University.

“Before I started, I was angry with everyone who wanted to help me and that came out in school. I had a long list of referrals for bad behaviour. Joining Career Ready changed this. My mentor has transformed my life. I now plan to study law. I’d like to make the most of the opportunities that come my way.”

Kiara Ross

“The Career Ready awards celebration is the highlight of our year. It’s a chance to hear the powerful impact of employer engagement in schools through the voices of the students whose lives have been transformed and the employers and teachers who have helped make that happen.”

Anne Spackman, Career Ready Chief Executive

Further winners on the evening include:

UK Students of the Year proudly sponsored by Leidos:

  • Jephta Asamoah from Barking & Dagenham College, London
  • Kiara Ross from Elgin High School in Moray, Scotland
  • Jamie Hanna from Belfast Metropolitan College, Northern Ireland
  • Joe Williams from West Derby School, Liverpool
  • Romana Aziz from Washwood Heath College, Birmingham
  • Katrina Rjabova from Franklin College, Grimsby

Citi Bank Volunteer of the Year:

  • North West: Gary Curzon from Mettler Toledo
  • Yorkshire & Humber: Beverley Webster from Prosperis
  • North East: Claire Atkins from Sintons LLP
  • Wales, West and the Midlands: Gary McDermott from Geosynthetics
  • London & SE: Gerry Dorkin from Wells Fargo and Simon Gowdin from Fundsmith
  • Essex: Dean Woodroof from Brighthouse
  • Scotland: Sandy Begbie from Standard Life Aberdeen, Ruth Minnican from Diageo PLC, and John Fyfee from Perth & Kinross Council
  • Northern Ireland: Brian Sykes from the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

Standard Life Aberdeen Mentor of the Year:

North West: Jamie Bawden from Wates
Wales, West and the Midlands: Connie Hoffmeister from Arcadis UK
London & SE: Jennifer Nemeth from the Bank of England
North East: Debbie Gee from the NHS
Northern Ireland: Noel Doyle from McAuley Engineering

Santander Employability Champion of the Year:

  • Paul Grainger from Prior Pursglove College in Redcar & Cleveland

AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year:

  • Science: Jennifer Walker from Milne’s High School, Scotland
  • Technology: Eric Petnehazi, Lourdes RC Secondary School
  • Engineering: Enoma Ogor from Loreto College, Manchester

To find out more please contact tom.rippon@careerready.org.uk | Click here for hi-res images