Katrina Rjabova from Franklin College is the winner of our 2018 Leidos Student of the Year for Yorkshire, Humber and the North East. Here, she shares how the support of her mentor and an internship at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital has helped her prepare for a successful future.

I went to a bad school, with a poor GCSE pass rate, and I felt disconnected from my studies and felt self-conscious. I was bullied because of my poor language skills and predicted to fail my GCSEs as I’d only arrived from Latvia in Y9. I knew nothing about careers and I wasn’t a confident person at all.

Career Ready has changed me as a person – I’m now much more social and self-confident.

I forced myself to participate on the programme as I really wanted to develop employability skills. A Capital Experience was my first time ever in London and I loved it! Action Jackson really inspired me and gave me the motivation to do my best – I added him on Snapchat right away.

During the programme, I received mentoring from Giselle, who works at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She was a massive support to me and has really helped me to grow as a person. She came to trips to universities with me and she helped me to gain an internship at a hospital, where she also supervised me.

My internship at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital helped me to find out a lot about various careers, as well as boosting my confidence and helping me to further develop the skills I’ll need in my future career. I think the most significant bit of my time there was being able to see all the different departments and job roles at a hospital and meeting people from so many different professions.

Because of what I’ve learnt and experience during my time on the Career Ready programme, I’ve decided to hold back on my application to university. The apprenticeship tutorials had a big impact on me as they made me aware of the different career pathways out there and that it’s important to sometimes take your time to ensure that you’re making the right choice.

I know that I’m yet ready for university, so I’ve decided to take a gap and may take up an apprenticeship. I’m also currently working two part-time jobs and I volunteer with young children from Latvia. Career Ready has helped me develop as a whole person and make meaningful friendships.

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