Andrew McFarlane, pictured left, from Blairgowrie High School in Perth & Kinross graduated the Career Ready programme in 2018. He enjoyed a 4 week paid internship at Aviva where his mentor, David, was also based. Here, he talks about his Career Ready experience and how it’s changed his future.

My mentor David was amazing, he used his own experiences to discuss and solve problems I faced with things like CV writing and interviews. David showed me how the skills I already had translated into the working environment using his own role as an example. He gave me plenty of confidence and made me realise the skills that I already had could be really valuable to a big company like Aviva. I found having a mentor to be so helpful and insightful, we kept in touch and now we work for the same company.

I think having the opportunity to take part in an internship as part of a programme like Career Ready is really important. It’s the opportunity for a young person to see that the skills they use at school or college can be applied to the workplace. It’s also a chance for them to see what a workplace environment is like and what is expected of them.

I found that because I was given real-life work, that I was responsible for, that contributed to the success of my team, I took proper ownership and responsibility. It showed me that I could make a difference and be of real value to an organisation. My internship actually highlighted some skills I didn’t even realise I had and ultimately helped me identify which of those skills employers are looking for, which was really useful.

I’m happy to say that I now work for Aviva as a Commercial Underwriter, I’d like to progress onto qualifying in insurance and pursuing it as a career.

Without Career Ready I would have stayed in academic study, struggling with which path to take. I now love working full time and have a clear idea of my aspirations for the future and how to get there.