Daniel Clarke graduated from Career Ready in 2004. Here, he shares how his time on the programme gave him the skills, confidence, and opportunity to kickstart a successful future. 

I grew up in a big family, living in Stratford in East London with my parents and six older siblings. I had a good family life, but Stratford was a ‘difficult’ area back then, not like it is now. I went to a school that had a poor reputation, but it was the most convenient option, especially as my parents were working.

Education was never my strong point. When I was in Year 5, I realised that all the other kids could read an entire book while I was struggling to read at all. I started to feel isolated and somewhat jealous of them. Back then, no one talked about dyslexia or mental health, and I didn’t feel able to talk to my parents about my difficulties at school as all my siblings had done well at school and gone to university.

I didn’t get much support at school so I just gave up on learning. This led to me getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, skipping lessons and ending up in detention. I ended up with only GCSE.

 

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Failing my GCSEs gave me a new-found focus and, with a bit of luck, I got into college to do GNVQ Business Studies where I heard about Career Ready. The internship aspect really stood out to me – it seemed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

My first year of college was all about taking classes and studying independently, while the second year was spent preparing for my internship, buying a suit, and then applying for five companies I wanted to do an internship with. I was so proud when I was successful in getting one with Citi. It gave me a new-found sense of self-belief and I was also shocked by the amount of support I received without judgment.

When someone supports you and they don’t know you – they just believe in you because you’re a young person who’s trying to do better, it’s just such an amazing feeling.

From one GCSE to a first-class degree – that’s my story. If I didn’t have Career Ready in my life, I don’t know how far I would have got.

After I completed the programme and left college, I went on to study BA Business Management at university, leaving with a first-class degree. I now work as a Recruitment Manager for Amazon. My responsibilities include stakeholder management, forecasting and making decisions regarding hiring.

For the next few years, I see myself continuing his work at Amazon. However, in the longer term, my goal is to go into charity work, so I can give back and support young people who find themselves in similar situations I was in fourteen years ago.

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