Career Ready community celebrated with National Awards

Outstanding  students,  teachers and employers gathered in London to collect   National awards at the second annual awards celebration  on Wednesday 29 March 2017.

The event, hosted at The Livery Hall, Guildhall, thanks to the support of City of London, celebrated excellence in employer engagement, recognised the successes of students who have completed the Career Ready programme and rewarded the hard work of the volunteers and teachers who give their time and energy to prepare young people for the world of work.

Representatives from large and small employers across the UK, from sectors including logistics, construction, finance, law and STEM joined those from nearly 20 schools and colleges from across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to celebrate the successes of the Career Ready community.

Awards included the Santander Employability Champion, the AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year Award, The Santander Employability Champion of the Year, The Mentor of the Year Award, sponsored by Standard Life, the Volunteer of the Year Award, proudly supported by Citi and the Sir Winfried Bischoff Student of the Year Award.

The Santander Employability Champion Award celebrates the individuals who go above and beyond the requirements of their role as a Career Ready Coordinator to act as an ambassador for wider employer engagement.

As the national winner Heather Houston, Coordinator Belfast Metropolitan College, will have one-to-one mentoring for a year by an employee from Santander, and will be given £5,000 for the development of the college’s Career Ready programme.

Heather said: “Winning this award is the ultimate privilege as a teacher – it’s incredibly humbling that I can give something back for others to learn from. The one year that I’ve managed the Career Ready programme has been the most worthwhile of my 30 years as a teacher. 

“It’s very rewarding to watch my students deal with the challenges of life – they learn from every experience on the programme. Career Ready has helped us bring classroom learning to life by embedding employer engagement with businesses like Santander into the curriculum.”

The Sir Winfried Bischoff Award is given the two young people who have gone the furthest duing their Career Ready experinece. Cara Leigh Brown, a student from Kinross High School, was one of two national winners of the award and receives and has won an all-expenses-paid trip to London to network with leaders in the capital’s biggest businesses.

Cara said: “Before I joined the programme I had very little confidence and I was planning on dropping out of school. I didn’t have the support to point me in the right direction.

“The guidance and encouragement of my mentor helped me to discover my strengths and take the plunge towards a career I want. Without Career Ready I would have dropped out of school and I would have missed out on so many amazing opportunities.”

At the awards evening volunteers from across the UK were given awards for their outstanding services to Career Ready, in awards supported by Citi and Standard Life.

Megan Ford, who won the Mentor of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by Standard Life, for the London and the South East, said:

“Winning this award shows me that the ideas and suggestions I gave made a difference to Rhys and the way he saw himself. Mentoring Rhys has given me more self-confidence and belief in myself. To have Rhys nominate me for the reasons he did has helped me be able to see my own potential and for that I thank him.”

Harry Donnelly, a student from Prior Pursglove College in Teesside, won the award for AstraZeneca STEM Award for Technology in recognition of the outstanding progress he made during her internship at Mobile Mini. After a successful placement last summer, Harry has been invited back to complete another internship this summer before he goes to university.

Harry said: “Before I started the Career Ready programme I was very nervous – I couldn’t speak publicly, I was horrendous at networking and I was too afraid to ask questions about my future. With no career plans, no understanding of the business world and no confidence, I wasn’t expecting anything special to become of my career.

“Meeting all of the genuinely amazing people at Mobile Mini completely changed my attitude. Everyone had been in my shoes before and they helped me to see that what I thought was a terrifying challenge, was actually a fantastic opportunity, and I decided to make the most of it.”

Harry’s internship supervisor Zoe Brookes, Marketing Director at Mobile Mini, said: “It is very rewarding watching someone grow in confidence, gain new skills, develop and really appreciate the guidance you have offered them. I would not hesitate in hosting another intern after our experience with Harry and I’m delighted that his hard work and achievements have been recognised with this national award.”

The event was held at the Livery Hall, Guildhall and was hosted by former Career Ready student, Max Kalu from Haverstock School.

Anne Spackman, Chief Executive, Career Ready, said: “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.

“There is now clear evidence to show that teenagers who have four or more interventions with employers at school are five times less likely to be unemployed, and earn on average 18% more than their peers. Volunteers also report how much they have benefited through mentoring or managing a student intern.

“We congratulate all the winners and say a huge thank you to our award sponsors, Santander, Standard Life, AstraZeneca and Citi for bringing that evidence to life.”

To view the social media highlights from the event please click here.

Meet the winners

Sir Winfried Bischoff Student of the Year:

National winners:

Regional winners:

Santander Employability Champion:

National winner:

Regional winners:

Volunteer of the Year Award, proudly supported by Citi:

Mentor of the Year Award, proudly supported by Standard Life:

AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year: