Romana Aziz from Washwood Heath Academy in Birmingham is our 2018 Leidos Student of the Year for Wales, West and the Midlands. Here, she shares how her time on the Think Build programme and an internship at Arcadis has helped her prepare for the world of work.

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I used to be the quiet one at school. I didn’t have much confidence in speaking and hadn’t been in any professional environments. I couldn’t do a presentation or walk into a room and speak to lots of new people.

Thanks to my time on the Career Ready programme and the support of Connie from Arcadis – my mentor – this has changed. The programme taught me to look people in the eye. It gave me the confidence to go out on my own – and I’ve done so many presentations now. I’ve become more punctual and more focused. It’s changed my perspective.

Before I started the programme I was unsure of what career I wanted to go in, and  – in all honesty – I was unaware of many of the options available to me. Connie helped a lot with changing this. She helped me to write my CV and she introduced me to lots of different people at her workplace to increase my confidence.

I also researched many different career options and then discussed them with her so I could get her input and advice. Connie also helped me to explore various apprenticeships and internships to help me decide what career I wanted to do.

I think the most significant aspect of my time on the Think Build programme was my four-week paid internship at Arcadis.

My time at Arcadis gave me the opportunity to put what I had learnt into practice, develop a strong interest in project management, and – crucially -help me to decide what career I want to do after school. In fact, I’ve just accepted an apprenticeship at Arcadis which I’m very proud and excited about!

Learn more about how Career Ready helps young people like Romana kickstart a successful future, or get involved today and make a lasting difference.