Juwon Davies from the City of London Academy, Southwark is our 2020 Leidos UK Student of the Year for the South of England. Now completing an apprenticeship with UBS Investment Bank, Juwon shares how a four-week paid internship at Citi Bank and the support of her mentor Edward enabled her to kick-start her future.

Before Career Ready I felt ambitious about my future but lacked confidence in my ability. I was totally fixed onto the idea of one specific career path but wasn’t aware of any other options. Whilst working with the Corporate Access team at Citi my mind was opened to more opportunities and without the experience I probably wouldn’t be working within the financial sector now.

The internship at Citi helped me identify the kinds of things I liked to do and where my strengths lay. An insight into the working world is honestly an understatement with the amount of involvement I had within the Corporate Access Team. I was able to take part in real-life ongoing projects and my Microsoft Excel skills really improved. The part I enjoyed most was talking to people and creating a professional network, it’s so important. You just don’t know who might end up helping you out in the future. The internship at Citi was a great step into the professional world, it opened my eyes to what’s available to me and enabled me to plan my next steps.

Having a mentor to support me throughout the Career Ready programme has been really helpful, Edward has gone above and beyond for me and I’ve really appreciated it. He has advised me in a way that neither my parents nor friends could and was able to address some of my weaknesses honestly.

I believe it’s important for young people to have the opportunity to meet someone from the professional world that can show them what is possible and encourage them to apply their talents in areas that they perhaps didn’t know were available to them. A mentor can be a sounding board that doesn’t pass judgment and can answer the difficult or awkward questions honestly.

Edward Keelan, Investment Director, Octopus Investments

My plan after school was always to do a degree apprenticeship in accounting, however Edward was able to shine a light onto what other pathways were available to me. I would like to thank my mentor Edward for being such a brilliant support system during this difficult year and throughout our years of knowing each other. I would not swap him for anyone.

Overall, my Career Ready experience was amazing. The programme opened up brilliant opportunities like my internship and matched me with a lifelong mentor. I will always be an advocate of the program and would advise any young person to get involved.

Discover how you can make a difference to a young person like Juwon.