Liam Symonds, from Trafford College in Manchester, shares how Anna – his mentor from FireCask –  helped him become Career Ready. 

When I joined the Career Ready programme I was at Trafford College, where I was enrolled to start a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business. In all honesty, despite my ambitions to be successful, I was quite unrefined and lacking in confidence but joining Career Ready completely changed this.

As part of the programme, I was provided with professional mentoring by Anna who works for FireCask, a digital marketing agency in Manchester. Anna not only helped me develop the skills and qualities I would need to succeed in the workplace, but she helped me to become more confident in myself.

I think that the most significant impact Anna had on me was in terms of honing my ambition into something more focused. She also introduced me to a part-time job which turned into full-time employment when I left college. 

After I left college – and graduated from Career Ready – in 2014, I began a full-time graduate position in Digital Marketing at a large UK retailer. However, in 2015 I decided to enrol in an LLB (Bachelor of Laws). I’m now in the final year of my degree and I’ve managed to secure a training contract offer with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, which I’m delighted about. I’m also currently serving as the General Secretary of the Black Solicitors Network (North).

I’m still very good friends with Anna, she has helped me to succeed throughout my journey by always being supportive. She gave me the tools to grow my confidence and taught me the importance of networking which remains a very important aspect of my current role. 

I think that the difference that Anna made to my life really shows how important mentoring can be to people my age. Not only do they provide excellent career guidance and advice, they also act as a role model who shows you that great things can be achieved. Having a mentor also allowed me to expand my network, which I’ve learnt is crucial for building a successful career.

I would encourage any student to join the Career Ready programme and to try to maximise every opportunity which they’re provided with. It’s a great programme for gaining more insight into the world of work, growing your network, and building a successful future.

Learn more about how Career Ready helps young people like Liam kick-start a successful future or get involved and make a lasting difference.