Cai Pugh from Cardiff and Vale College is one of our 2022 Student of the Year winners. Here, he explains how the support of his mentor Wayne and an internship at Isio, a leading pensions advisory firm, helped to kick start a rewarding future.

My first experience of work

During my time on the Career Ready programme, I was lucky enough to have an internship at Isio. This was my first workplace experience, and even though it was all online because of the pandemic, interacting with everyone massively helped me to grow my confidence.

The other interns and I were put into teams and asked to come up with ideas on how to get young people engaged with their finances and pensions. As a team, we then pitched our ideas which really helped me work on my transferrable skills like teamwork, listening, and presenting.

The whole experience allowed me to gain an understanding of what working in the finance industry was like. Although ultimately, I have chosen to do something different, it was certainly an invaluable experience that I enjoyed every moment of.

Someone to share ideas with

I really appreciated the support of my mentor Wayne. Having somebody who gave me completely honest feedback and advice has definitely helped me progress in my personal and professional life.

One of the main benefits was having someone to share my ideas with, and openly discuss my future plans. Every meeting we had, I left feeling motivated to take action on what we had discussed.

Wayne really gave me the courage to put myself out there, to apply to lots of apprenticeships and even publish my own book!

Cai has achieved so much over the last year. Despite having to adapt to learning online, Cai has flourished and gained so much confidence personally and academically within the college community. Wayne has given him incredible support over the last academic year, helping him to improve his confidence, professional development plan, as well as creating opportunities for Cai to improve his own learning and development.

Tracy Bird, Career Ready Coordinator, Cardiff and Vale College

A big change in myself

I’ve definitely seen a big change in myself since joining the Career Ready programme. I used to be quiet, reserved and unsure of what to do with my life. Through the several masterclasses, work experiences, and mentoring scheme I have developed both personally and professionally. I am now more self-aware and have identified the career path I want to go down. The confidence I have gained has enabled me to apply to solicitor apprenticeship programmes in London and Bristol.

The Career Ready programme definitely provides young people with the tools needed to be successful. To anyone thinking about joining I would say – it was one of the best decisions of my life!  Take advantage of every opportunity they offer you.

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