Jephta Asamoah from Barking & Dagenham College is our 2018 Leidos UK Student of the Year. Here, he shares how his time on the Career Ready programme has helped him prepare for a successful future.

I am so proud to have been named as the Leidos UK Student of the Year at the Career Ready awards. Before I started the programme I was a frustrated and angry young man with a bad attitude, I was fed up of being told that I couldn’t do things because of my disability. I knew that getting on the Career Ready programme was going to change my life and it really has.

On the programme I was treated no differently to anyone else and I’ve made life-long friends. I had very few role models growing up and my family don’t use sign language. My mentor – Alan Morgan at Portland Communications – and peers have become part of my family.

During my time on the programme I experienced a paid, four-week internship at Portland Communications, where Alan – my mentor – works. My time at Portland Communications has helped with the development of my networking skills. I’ve been working with directors and CEOs, which has blown my mind. My time there also enabled me to understand the practical elements of the world of work and how to improve my weak skills.

I’m the first deaf student representative at my college and I have five offers of places at university.

Being mentored by Alan has changed my life. Meeting with him, learning about his career journey, and how hard he worked to become a Director at Portland Communications has been so inspiring and beneficial to me. There’s 346,000 working age people with disabilities who are unemployed. One in four has quit their job because of discrimination. Thanks to Alan, my ambitions extend well beyond a life on benefits. He’s helped develop my confidence and I now have a positive sense of myself.

My plan for the future is to study Politics & International Relations at Lancaster University and then to apply for graduate programme. I also plan on becoming a mentor to young people and providing them with the support which Alan has given to me.

Learn more about how Career Ready helps young people like Jephta kickstart a successful future, or get involved and make a lasting difference.