Jess Oliver is 23 years old and from Essex, now living in Hertfordshire. She works as a front of house manager at a conference centre. She is a former Career Ready student and now a mentor. She was inspired to join the Youth Advisory Board because of her passion for helping people achieve their potential.

My Career Ready story

I was inspired to join the Youth Advisory Board because I have experienced the change Career Ready can bring to young people’s lives and I would like to become a part of making this possible for more students.

While I was at college, I took part in the programme myself and it really helped to build my confidence and give me my first experience of being in a real working world. This support and experience shaped my professional life – opening up things I wouldn’t have thought possible when I was younger. And I’m excited at the opportunity to help mould the future of Career Ready to ensure that the programme succeeds and helps students in the way it helped me.

In addition, being on the board would allow me to work with other like-minded young people to be able to push change within Career Ready and in the wider business environment to ensure that the programme remains relevant, can adapt to future changes in the workplace, and meet the challenges which young people currently face.

Helping young people to overcome barriers

I believe that young people should be able to achieve their potential, whatever it is they choose to do in life. But there are barriers that stop this from being possible for many.

The greatest barrier that I think young people face today is the issue of ‘needing experience to gain experience’.

When I was 16, I’d not had any previous opportunities for work experience at school so when it came to searching for my first job it was very hard to find a company that would give me my first chance.

All too often, job adverts ask young people for previous experience for entry-level jobs or internships and won’t even consider applications from people without any prior experience. How is it right that work experience is required to gain workplace experience?!?

It’s therefore essential to have schemes like Career Ready which can support more schools and colleges to provide work experience opportunities to help with the bridge of moving into the workplace. And I can’t wait to work with my fellow board members to help shape Career Ready’s work and make this possible for more young people.

Find out more about our Youth Advisory Board