Usama Yusuf was a student at Harris Academy, St Johns Wood, London when he graduated the Career Ready programme in 2015. Since then Usama has gone onto complete a university degree and gain full-time employment at the place where he completed his six-week paid internship, Citi bank. Here Usama describes how his time on the Career Ready programme helped him develop the skills, confidence, and experience needed to kickstart a rewarding career.

As a young person attending sixth form, I was eager for opportunities, which is why Career Ready and the internship were so great. I was able to complete my first professional work experience at Citi bank for six weeks. I found it really interesting to learn about the different teams and find out what their functions were. I learnt how to communicate, how to network and how to carry myself in the workplace. I got a great overall picture of what going into the finance industry would be like. My favourite part was meeting all the people from different divisions, some of whom have helped me in my career since, six years later.

Having a mentor during the Career Ready programme was really helpful, she guided me through so many things including university applications and my internship at Citi. Every bit of advice I received from my mentor was useful and she helped me stay motivated and disciplined. I’m grateful to this day to my mentor and would like to say thank you.

Career Ready gave me my first professional opportunities, and I believe the first step is always the hardest. The Career Ready programme taught me how to network and gave me the confidence to apply for the apprenticeships in finance that I really wanted to do, and that’s where I am today.