I’ve learned from past failures and used those lessons to achieve something positive

The Career Ready programme can instil confidence in someone who has the skills to fulfil their ambitions but for one reason or another, doesn’t trust their instincts.

Who are you?

My name is Matthew Wheatley, I’m a Business Analyst at Coventry Building Society. I’ve been mentoring Rozin Hanjool at Lyng Hall School in Coventry since 2015. In 2016 I was awarded Mentor of the Year for the Wales, South West and Midlands region. 

Why did you get involved in Career Ready?

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I understood what I needed from the workplace in order to be happy. I saw Career Ready as a chance to give someone the guidance that might have set me on that course much earlier.

What has your role involved?

I was open and honest with my mentee about my own experiences and never shied away from a difficult conversation. I encouraged her to think about all of her hopes for the future, not just education and the workplace, and I believe this gained her trust and provided her with the confidence to make some difficult decisions.

Why is Career Ready important?

The Career Ready programme can instil confidence in someone who has the skills to fulfil their ambitions but for one reason or another, doesn’t trust their instincts. A breakthrough like that makes a future that seemed daunting into something you’re excited about every morning.

Why would you recommend supporting Career Ready to other employers?

I would recommend working with Career Ready because if you take some risks it will have as much of an impact on you as it will on the young person you’ve agreed to support.

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

I am proud to have won this prize because I’ve learned from past failures and used those lessons to achieve something positive. It gives me the confidence to take more risks in the future.

What Rozin said about Matthew:

Throughout the programme my mentor has helped me achieve things I never thought possible. From the first meeting he made me feel comfortable being open and honest with him about my career aspirations in Human Rights. Thanks to the confidence he gave me, I took the initiative to start a petition about helping women who are victims of sexual violence in conflict, and even spoke to the media and to politicians, including Hilary Benn and Gordon Brown, about the issues in Syria and Iraq. My petition got over 220,000 signatures and the experience gave me the confidence and skills to apply to university, receiving an unconditional offer from De Montford University to study Law, Human Rights and Social Justice.

If I hadn't had Matthew as my mentor I would have struggled after education as I didn’t know how to prepare for interviews and thought the workplace was scary. Without his support I wouldn’t have had the courage to stand up for women who are affected by conflict, which is something I feel passionately about, and which has set me up fantastically for the next stage in my career journey.