Ryan McCafferty graduated from the Career Ready programme in 2017. Here, he shares how his mentor and paid internship at Leidos gave him the skills, confidence, and experience to kickstart a rewarding future as a Business Management Apprentice at Leidos.

School wasn’t something I was ever particularly bothered about,  didn’t see the point in it to be honest. I was always pretty bored and unmotivated, and I found the pressure of exams a struggle.

However, joining the Career Ready programme changed my mentality and caused me to get my act together. The support of Blair, my mentor, and my internship at Leidos really helped to change my mindset.

Blair was there for me whenever I needed help with school, but he was also there as a friend.

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He would listen to me, give me advice and just have a general chat about life. He was also a big help during my internship at Leidos, where he worked.

My internship at Leidos was probably the single best thing I’ve done. I genuinely really enjoyed it from start to finish. It allowed me to have genuine responsibility and it served as my first insight into project management – which is now my career.

It also gave me the opportunity to see the fundamentals of how an office works and how a company is run while also helping me to build a network of people who could help me. And it made me realise that if I was going to work in an office like the one that I did my internship in I was going to have to put some work and effort into doing well in school.

I can definitely say that I would not be in the position I’m in right now without the programme.

Because of my mindset shift I was able to leave school with some good qualifications and there’s physically no way I would have made the connections to get my job without doing the programme

From my experience, I would not have been in the position I am right now without the programme….no way I would have made the connections with my job without the programme.

I was able to secure an apprenticeship with Leidos because during my end of internship presentation I was slightly jokingly said, ‘has anybody’s got a vacant role?’ And, luckily, a recruiter from Leidos was in the audience as I said it. When it came to me leaving school I got sent an email to say, ‘Look, by the way, I know you asked about apprenticeships in your speech, would you like to apply?’ I applied and got the job. Without the connections and experiences I had on my internships, I never would have ended up working at somewhere like Leidos.

I’m really enjoying working at Leidos, it’s a cool company to work at and I’m able to sit 40 yards from Blair, my old mentor. Right now, I work in tech and bespoke software solutions and in a couple of years I hope to be a qualified project manager and work in fintech once I’ve finished my university course as this is something which really interests me

Learn more about how we help young people such as Ryan kickstart rewarding futures.