Madalyn Mathews graduated the Career Ready programme in 2016 from Franklin College in North East Lincolnshire. Now a Digital Marketing Assistant, Madalyn has returned to Career Ready as a volunteer and successfully mentored for three years. Here, Madalyn tells us what impact the Career Ready programme had on her and why she feels so passionate about returning to volunteer.

Before the Career Ready programme, I had limited experience of the workplace. I had no idea what would be expected of me and I didn’t appreciate the importance of pursuing personal and professional development.

I completed my internship in the supply chain department for one of the local area’s biggest employers. It was a great example of a professional work environment and I got to experience things which might seem simple but were a big deal to me, like basic email etiquette. My favourite moment of the placement was being given responsibility over projects for key clients like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, I really felt like I was being taken seriously.

I loved having a mentor to bounce ideas off of, help fine tune my CV and recognise my strengths and areas for development. Sam gave me insight into career pathways and university courses that might appeal to me based of my interests and was also able to put me in contact with her professional network. The experience I had working with Sam really highlighted to me how invaluable a mentor can be and since finishing the Career Ready programme I have continued to seek out mentor figures; at university and in my current workplace.

To any young person thinking about joining the Career Ready programme, I would say go for it! You learn so much, it sets you apart from the crowd and is an excellent talking point at job interviews.

Today I am a Digital Marketing Assistant and I volunteer my time with Career Ready as a mentor because I wanted to give back knowing the value it can add to a young person’s development. It’s a different relationship to student/teacher and that’s why it works so well. It’s really important for young people to have access to someone who can take the time to get to know them and offer impartial advice.

Volunteering with Career Ready has helped me develop my leadership skills and I have had the satisfaction of witnessing my advice have an impact on my mentees career and professional development.

I help by going over things I learned from being mentored myself and recalling personal experiences. The most rewarding part for me has been seeing my mentees CV transform from the first draft to the final draft. It was something both my mentee and I were really proud of.

To anyone thinking about it, I would say – give volunteering a go, it could really help a young person flourish. You’ve got more to offer than you might think.

Discover how you can make a difference to a young person’s life as a volunteer.