Ben Hawkins, formerly of St. John Fisher Voluntary Academy, graduated from the Career Ready programme in 2017 and is now a Project Manager at Lloyd’s Banking Group, where he had a paid, four-week internship. Here, he shares how his paid internship and the support of his mentor from Fujitsu gave him the skills, confidence and experience needed for the world of work.

The experience and knowledge I gained from this scheme were invaluable. Before I joined the programme I was unaware, inexperienced, and unsure. I didn’t know about the opportunities that were out there and I had no solid idea of what I wanted to do when I finished Sixth Form.

My mentor was amazing, she helped me develop myself and prepare for life in a working environment. The relationship I had with her was very similar to a line manager and it helped me understand from the start how to behave professionally. Once we had completed all of our sessions we stayed in touch and continued to meet which was really valuable. My mentor was extremely helpful in guiding me towards the career that I wanted and shaped me into the person I am today.

The work experience I completed at Lloyds Banking Group shaped my future in quite a huge way. It highlighted job roles that I had never heard of before and gave me an amazing insight into a workplace environment. I learnt how to build professional relationships with colleagues whilst developing my knowledge of the business. Career Ready got me there by encouraging me out of my comfort zone and helping me become more willing to embrace new experiences.

Before the internship I didn’t know what project management was and now it’s my career and I have Career Ready to thank for that.

Having a real-life experience of the working world allowed me to talk to people on different career paths and helped me understand the opportunities available. It helped me grow and develop into an informed, confident professional.

I gained so much from the programme that I intend on applying to be a mentor with Career Ready in the future. The opportunity to be able to give back and offer a student the support and guidance my mentor gave me is important.

Find out more about how we help young people like Ben kickstart rewarding futures, or get involved today and make a lasting difference.