Nicola Kiely, a Business Manager for Santander Select Segmant, and winner of the Citi Volunteer Award 2017 for Northern Ireland, shares how she has helped give young people the skills, confidence and experience to kick-start a successful future.
I first got involved with Career Ready because, like most of the students who take the programme, I was very ambitious at that age and would have welcomed an opportunity to spend time in the corporate world when I was their age.
We owe it to this young generation to provide them with the tools they need to keep them focused and, more importantly, to help to build their own self-belief. While school provides young people with the academic tools they need, the opportunity to be in a working environment provides them with essential life skills.
So, when I joined Santander in 2010 and became involved in their Talent Development programme in Northern Ireland, I quickly identified that there were mutual benefits to collaborating with Career Ready. The passion displayed by our own supervisors who mentor the students is matched by the commitment and enthusiasm of the Career Ready team in Northern Ireland and - more importantly - the students.
There is no greater reward than to see these young students blossom following their experience on the internship programme.
In 2016 we met with the students and their parents after their internship, it was truly humbling to see the positive impact that this programme, and our involvement, has on these young adults and their families.
Whilst it’s great to win an award for my involvement with Career Ready, to speak to these young adults – whose insight and enthusiasm always amazes me despite their young age – is the best reward I could get.
If you are passionate about people, their progression and giving something back, then this is the programme for you.