Charli Love graduated from the Career Ready programme in 2012 while studying at North Kent College. During her time on the programme, she enjoyed a six-week paid internship at Morgan Stanley and a successful mentoring relationship with Ashley from Barclays Wealth. Now, working as a Hiring Manager for HSBC UK and volunteering as a Career Ready mentor and LAB member, Charli looks back on her time on the programme and explains why it’s so important that she now helps other young people gain the skills and experience needed to kick-start a rewarding career.

I loved every minute of my internship at Morgan Stanley. I remember feeling so grown up and like a valued member of the team.

Having never worked in an office before, I thought the experience would be just making tea and filing papers, however I was given real work that actually mattered.

It meant so much to me that my internship supervisor was willing to trust me with certain tasks and I felt responsible to do a good job and not let anyone down.

Having a mentor was great, having someone who I trusted and didn’t make me feel judged was invaluable. It was really important to me at the time to have someone I could be honest with and ask the ‘silly questions’, Ashley was able to give me her perspective and advice on various workplace scenarios and that was really useful.   

Before starting the Career Ready programme I was nervous and shy around people, I didn’t have very high ambitions and never really considered the prospect of having a ‘career’. The programme gave me an insight into the workplace that I never would have had otherwise.

Because of how much the Career Ready programme helped me, in 2014 I decided to become a volunteer myself so I could give another a young person the same support and opportunities which I received. 

I already know first-hand how life-changing the Career Ready programme is and now I want to make sure students really understand how valuable it can be to their careers.

Working in HR at HSBC UK, I know that when employers recruit, they are keen to see what real workplace experiences candidates have. Experiences like a paid internship, the Career Ready masterclasses and having a mentor can make such a difference to the content of a young person’s job application.  

With the students I mentor, I try and be a judgement-free sounding board. I remember how overwhelming the idea of going to a corporate workplace was: meetings, speaking to managers, even walking into the building, so I like to be available to offer my own thoughts on all the little things they may be worried about. I have a different perspective but most importantly, I have experience. 

I’m still in contact with my mentees and keep in touch with how they are doing. Recently, my mentee Claire, was offered an apprenticeship as a Business Analyst at M&G Prudential and sent me a lovely card to thank me for being her mentor and helping her on her career journey. Being a Career Ready mentor really is rewarding and is such a nice opportunity to give back. For some students, it really is invaluable and means so much to them. I see the students change over the year in confidence, it’s fulfilling to be part of their growth and support them along the way.

I’m such a big advocate of Career Ready, I love being able to shape and be involved with the programme that started my career.