Matt Cordas, Marketing Operations Manager at St. James’s Place Wealth Management graduated the Career Academies programme in 2013 from Cirencester College. Now having volunteered with Career Ready for three years, Matt shares how the programme helped him as a student and why he chooses to volunteer today.

Being particularly academic wasn’t my style at college. I knew I wanted to go into work after studying, it was just a case of fully understanding what I wanted to do. When I found out about the programme (Career Academies back then) I thought it might provide a more practical and hands-on experience, helping me understand the world of work.

During my time on the Career Academies programme I completed an internship at St. James Place with the support of my mentor Jen. I valued then, as I still do today, networking with colleagues at a range of seniority levels to attain an understanding of what would be expected of me in a professional environment. Before this experience, I had worked at a hospitality company and local pub – so dressing in a suit and being in an office was totally new to me. My internship made me feel like a more well-rounded person and better prepared for work (and adult) life. SJP felt like the kind of place I wanted to work, so I returned the following summer as an apprentice.

During my studies, I never felt that further education was for me and the Career Academies programme really helped me to understand what I wanted to do after college. Being part of it, really helped me find my path. Eight years on, I still love working at St. James’s Place; had three varied roles across Marketing, Sponsorship and Operations and am now a people-manager.

Today, I volunteer as a mentor and Masterclass presenter for the Career Ready programme. I wanted to give something back to the programme that helped me so much and help a young person fulfil their potential, I also saw the benefits to my own professional development.

I’ve helped three young-people through the programme so far. Each have brought something very different and have gone onto university, an apprenticeship and setting up a business. We still keep in touch and one continues to work within the company I introduced them to; all are doing themselves proud.

Being a mentor has helped me understand the perspective of others. It’s helped me develop my coaching skills and progress to management within my own career, and has, occasionally, kept me ‘up-to-date with the times!’.

Volunteering to help a young person is so worthwhile. Supporting someone through their development by using your own experiences can really add value to where they might take their career. We all have experiences that can help and be relevant to someone. I love helping others – and this is a really great way to do that.

I will continue to support Career Ready for as long as I can, and would truly recommend it, whether you’re a student seeking career advice and experience of work, or someone willing to help a young person. The Career Ready programme is there for you.

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