Career Ready is easy to do business with – it allows us all to play to our strengths

The programme is a strong fit with Diageo’s “Learning for Life” strategy, which is all about supporting young people in their transition to the world of work.

Who are you?

My name is Gary Merrylees, I’m Head of Talent Management at Diageo. I am a member of the Glasgow LAB and have also mentored two Career Ready students. In 2016 I was awarded Volunteer of the Year. 

Why did you get involved in Career Ready?

I got involved initially because the programme is a strong fit with Diageo’s “Learning for Life” strategy, which is all about supporting young people in their transition to the world of work – and specifically about raising aspirations and building practical employability skills.

From a personal perspective it allows me to fulfil a commitment to contribute some of my experience and influence in this area to benefit local young people.

What has been your biggest achievement with Career Ready?

As an individual volunteer I’ve had the opportunity to mentor two great students. But in addition to that I’ve also been able to champion Career Ready within my own business and then lead the establishment of the Diageo-led Career Ready programmes in Fife and Moray, so even more young people can benefit from this opportunity.

Why would you recommend supporting Career Ready to other employers?

Career Ready is easy to do business with – it allows us all to play to our strengths. In addition to the obvious value to the students, it more often than not provides fantastic development opportunities for people within our business – as mentors or as internship supervisors.

The programme allows employers to directly influence the talent pipeline into businesses.

How does it feel to be recognised as Volunteer of the Year?

Winning this award gives me the opportunity to draw attention to the very practical ways that individuals and businesses can make a really significant difference in this area.