Caragh Cooper from St. Michael’s Catholic College shares how the support of her mentor and a paid internship gave her the skills, confidence and opportunity to kick-start a rewarding future.

I think the Career Ready programme helped me because it allowed me to gain confidence in workplace environments through learning new skills such as: teamwork, communication and managing and myself whilst learning these skills I was also able to meet many new people which also improved my networking skills.

The most interesting part of the Career Ready programme was meeting my mentor and being able to get advice from her. I could ask Deborah, from FleishmanHillard Fishburn, any questions I needed answering and this was super helpful. It was nice to have someone to contact directly to ask these sort of questions. She also helped me most by aiding me in the writing of my CV and choosing the university course most suited for me and my future.

I would like to thank Deborah for teaching me so much and being such an aid in guiding me through my UCAS application process and helping me understand what is needed for a CV that can help me stand out from others. 

Whilst on my internship at BSI Group it was interesting to see an employer’s full day at work and how they interacted with each other, something in which you aren’t aware of fully until you experience it first hand. As well as this, I attended a week-long placement at PA Consulting where I met some of the best people and engaged in multiple different activities. I also have a weekend job at John Lewis which I got through a reference provided by someone from my internship.

One piece of advice I would like to give other students thinking about joining the Career Ready programme or already on it is to make the most of the opportunity – it is very unlikely that this opportunity will come around again. Although you may feel as though you don’t fit in with your colleagues on your internship try your hardest to be part of the team and ask as many questions as you can. Remember they’ve been in your position before and so they have the best advice! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s email and contact them as they are more likely to help you in the future.

Without the Career Ready programme, I feel as though I’d not be as confident and sure when applying to university as I am. I have just completed my A-Levels at St. Michaels Catholic College and hope to be attending university to study philosophy and politics where I can then pursue a career which allows me to use my degree and the skills I’ve learnt from Career Ready to become successful.

Learn more about how we help young people such as Caragh kickstart rewarding futures or get involved today and make a lasting difference.