Al Lines, a Quality Assurance Manager at Moody’s, is a Career Ready mentor to Abdul Basit Zaheer from Luton Sixth Form College. Here, he shares his experience of helping Abdul develop the skills, confidence and experience needed to kick-start a rewarding future.

The offer to volunteer for Career Ready was circulated at Moody’s so I went along to find out more. I wanted to make a difference in a young person’s life at a stage where I could really offer something, Career Ready seemed like the perfect fit. I feel there is so much value in time spent with young people as an investment in the future. I wanted to give a young person the opportunity to get to see a ‘real’ working office, and experience London in a professional sense. 

When I met my mentee Abdul, he was initially a little wary and shy; we came from different backgrounds. After establishing common ground in that he was interested in the same areas in which I work, the relationship soon progressed. He was already interested in finance and accounting and I was able to educate him around the possibilities of widening his scope of interest to the IT that supports this industry.

Abdul securing his internship at Network Rail was a highlight, he wasn’t sure which work placement opportunity to apply for at first but together we discussed it, and drawing from my own experience, I was able to suggest that the Project Office role would give him the widest range of experiences, which could only be a good thing.

Abdul and I kept in touch during his internship, and he kept me updated with how much he was learning and enjoying the experience. After it had concluded, we met and he was raving about what he’d learnt from being exposed to the workplace and all of the different departments.

The best thing about having a mentor was being able to tap into his wealth of workplace experience. 

Abdul Basit Zaheer, Luton Sixth Form College

The real reward has been seeing Abdul come out of his shell and really engage with me and the Career Ready programme. I think, for students his age, the opportunity to have a mentor is invaluable. It provides a neutral sounding board for their ideas outside of their normal circle of friends and family. I was able to offer Abdul a different perspective based upon my own experiences, really allowing him to explore his own potential.

As well as volunteering as a Career Ready mentor Al has also featured in one of our ‘Subject Champion’ resource posters, which highlight curriculum subjects and how they can relate to real-world jobs, as well as volunteered as part of Skills Festival. 

As well as mentoring, I also recently volunteered as part of Skills Festival so that I could support young people during COVID-19 and what is a very challenging time for them. As part of the Skills Festival, I delivered CV & LinkedIn Workshops, sessions on what it is like to work in Finance, CV Clinics, and mock interviews.

I think it’s very important we continue to offer these kinds of workplace opportunities, otherwise how are young people going to understand the world of work? Having someone with experience who is able to share their knowledge is invaluable to a young person.