Barry Sewell, UK BPO Service Delivery Leader at RSA, has been working with Career Ready for four years and is currently a member of the Local Advisory Board for All Saints Catholic High School in Liverpool.
I first became aware of Career Ready whilst I was looking for a way to give something back, having been very lucky myself to come from a less advantaged background and gain a professional job. There were many factors that helped in my journey, but a big part of it was having the right mentors at the right time.
Since then, I have found that Career Ready delivers a huge amount, not only for the students, but also for the business leaders and organisations involved.
From a company point of view I get the opportunity to provide mentoring opportunities to a wide range and number of people early in their career, so that they can develop their approach to entering the world of work. I also run learning sessions and practice interviews for the students, which means I can give them some real skills they will need in their careers, like preparing for and having interviews, and presenting to large groups.
But probably the biggest impact for the company is during the internships. The energy and excitement that comes from having a cohort of 20 young and eager people, interested in what you do, provides a massive boost of excitement on the floor. By offering internships our team members get the opportunity to experience line management – and all of the fun that entails.
I also think every year we have offered internships to our Career Ready students there has been some breakthrough, some new way of working, a new way of looking at a problem that has benefitted us long beyond their leaving. I wouldn’t underestimate the value you can get from looking at your world through the eyes of a 17 year old who hasn’t been moulded and beaten into a corporate shape.
From a personal point of view there is something almost magical watching the transformation of students. The children who enter the process almost always leave it on their way to adulthood. I recently saw three 18 year old Career Ready alumni chair and steer discussion groups of 10 business leaders each. One of these had been my mentee, and I honestly don’t think I could have been any prouder.
For me, thinking that I could have helped one student change their future direction in a way they didn’t think possible, would make 20 years of mentoring worthwhile. Just imagine – being one of those little catalysts that somebody looks back on in twenty years time and thinks “wow – thanks”.
Barry is an ambassador for our Liverpool Let’s Do Business roadshow and will be giving more insights into how engaging with local schools can benefit businesses and individuals. For more information visit: http://www.careeracademies.org.uk/news.php/396/lets-do-business-roadshows-to-launch-in-liverpool