Abbie Whitehead, formerly of Queensferry High School in Edinburgh, joined the Career Ready programme in 2018. Here, Abbie talks about her experience of mentoring and a paid internship at The Scottish Government, as well as her plans for the future.

Before I started the Career Ready programme I was excited but slightly nervous and unsure of what to expect. I couldn’t have been matched with a better mentor, we got on so well it was more like a friendship, she welcomed me straight away and I knew I could speak with her whenever I needed to. Eilidh arranged plenty of workplace visits and made sure I was completely comfortable in any new environment. Eilidh was there for me throughout the programme and I would like to say thank you to her for making my experience so enjoyable.

The internship at The Scottish Government has helped me in so many ways! I’ve done so much it’s hard to name it all. I’ve visited loads of other organisations, been to meetings with ministers, worked on self-lead projects and had the chance to meet amazing lifelong contacts. The whole process has helped me become much more confident and able to acknowledge my own strengths and successes. My favourite moment was meeting John Swinney MSP, he made me feel listened to and we spoke passionately about topics that are important to me.

I’ve taken away so much from the time I had with Career Ready, I feel like they have given me an experience that I couldn’t have got elsewhere.

The most important thing I learnt during a masterclass was around critical thinking and problem-solving. I can now see that it’s a skill to be confident enough to bring your own ideas and solutions to the table to help solve any problems that your team might face.

I feel a lot clearer about my future plans, knowing that I will put to use skills that I have learnt during the programme. Once the new school year starts, I will be attending college to study Early Education and Childcare, which I’m even more excited about now than before the programme!