Ayrton Dhillon, Management Consultant, helped host six Career Ready young people for a two-week paid internship at Arcadis, an engineering and management consulting company. Here Ayrton tells us why helping young people access the world of work is so important to him and what he learnt from the experience.

A way to help young people that resonated with me

I first heard about Career Ready through working at Arcadis. Supporting the local community is really important to us so I started out by presenting masterclasses and became interested in hosting interns. This seemed to be a great way to help talented young people, who might not have access to workplace opportunities, find pathways into good careers. Also, it’s a great way to find and unlock local talent.

Helping young people who otherwise might not get the opportunity resonated with me and getting involved in the internship process came from a really personal place. I’m from Coventry and grew up in a single parent household where no one in my family had gone to university because it didn’t seem accessible.

Role models are so important and during the internship my background helped me connect with the young people I worked with. I think, for some of them, seeing another person of colour probably made them feel more comfortable.

Unlike anything they had done at school

The main project we set for the interns was around hybrid working. It was and continues to be such a critical issue for businesses and we could see a lot of peers doing interesting things in that space. We wanted to tap into our interns’ experiences and insights from doing their schoolwork from home due to the pandemic.

During the internship we asked them to build a survey and send it to the wider business. Once they got the data back they worked with a colleague from data visualisation to help present it in a dashboard. They found that part really interesting, I think because it was unlike anything they had done at school.

The end of internship presentations were the most rewarding part. They were a culmination of everyone’s effort and work; everything the interns worked on fed into those final presentations and they all did so well.

I built upon my own management and leadership skills

During this experience I was able to build upon my own management and leadership skills. I needed to ensure the young people were ok, understood everything and had the tools needed to complete their tasks. Getting the opportunity to coach and support the interns whilst also trying to drive their project towards an outcome was an enjoyable challenge. I found figuring out whether to step in and support at any time a very nuanced skill.

Just go for it! It’s very rewarding and Career Ready are a great organisation to work with

To anyone considering hosting an internship, I’d say – just go for it! It’s very rewarding and Career Ready are a great organisation to work with. As a business we benefitted from the data they collected and the value they brought, it was really worth while and proof of the mutual value that internships can provide. I really enjoy working with Career Ready.

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