Taking their first steps on the career ladder


As part of SELECT’s ongoing commitment to fostering strong ties within the local community, this summer we welcomed two high school students to complete a four-week paid internship as office assistants, organised through leading charity Career Ready.

Career Ready runs a two-year mentorship programme focused on introducing students to the world of work, expanding their career horizons, building skills and increasing self-confidence. Each student is paired with a mentor in a local business who will support them as they work through the programme.

The students attend masterclasses, run by Career Ready, during school hours on topics such as personal branding, interview skills, and communication and networking. In the summer following the first year of the programme, the students attend a work placement at their mentor’s workplace, which allows them to put into practice what they’ve learned during the previous year.

Charlotte Hickey, 16, from Beeslack High School in Penicuik, Midlothian, and Catherine Watret, also 16, from Penicuik High School, signed up for the Career Ready programme last year. Having been mentored by SELECT Accountant Jenny Petrie and Benefits Adviser Michelle Courtney, they’ve just completed their paid internship.

The duo had the opportunity to work in various departments and understand the work of SELECT in more detail, being trained up to complete tasks in a range of departments including Reception, Membership and Communications, Training, Benefits and Employment Affairs.

The students also worked together on projects such as overhauling the induction presentation for new SELECT staff, and designing and carrying out a staff survey to analyse career paths.

Having gone through a mock-up of the SELECT recruitment process at the beginning and end of their time in the office, and spending part of each working day reflecting on their learning and interactions, both Charlotte and Catherine will now be more confident in future interview situations when they enter the world of work.

Darrell Matthews, SELECT Managing Director, said: “This has been a very positive experience for SELECT, and we are proud to have supported the community by encouraging young people to explore which careers they would like to pursue.

“Charlotte and Catherine were great role models for the Career Ready scheme. They brought plenty of fresh ideas and enthusiasm and really got stuck in!

“I would recommend this scheme for any company to get involved in, and for schools to encourage pupils to participate.”

Due to the excellent experience SELECT has had during its first year with Career Ready, we have now committed to continued participation in the programme, with Membership and Communications Administrators Diane Hales and Anita Horeckyj taking up mentorship duties for another two young people from the area this autumn.

Furthermore, I will be delivering one of the Career Ready masterclasses in December, focusing on success at interviews and assessment centres.

Nicola Jengaenga Employment Affairs Advisor, SELECT

Charlotte gives her verdict on her experiences at SELECT

“I really enjoyed my time at SELECT and I had plenty to do. Tasks varied from working at reception and filing to writing reports and building presentations.

“I was a bit nervous before I started, but I really enjoyed being at reception and answering the phone, talking to people.

“The whole experience gave me confidence in the workplace; improving my networking skills and learning how things worked and how to act was a real eye-opener. Watching how other staff did their job was also a big help

“Before I did the internship, I wanted to go to university, but my time at SELECT completely changed my perception of a working environment. I’m still in 6th year, but I’m already looking for jobs.”

Expansion

Career Ready wants to expand its work across Scotland and take on mentors from new companies in the 2019-2021 cycle next year. Participation in the programme is rewarding, cements a business’s ties to the local community, and is a fantastic way to bring fresh ideas and new skills to your business. Below is the cycle for the 2019-2021 programme.

If you are keen to find out more, please visit www.careerready.org.uk

August 2019

Mentor volunteers undergo PVG checks.

September 2019

Mentors are matched to students according to career aspirations, hobbies etc. Mentor to attend a group briefing to learn more fully about the role of mentor, the Career Ready programme, meet other mentors, and meet the school co-ordinators.

October 2019

Mentor and student ‘launch event’. Meet your student for the first time, and focus on the journey ahead. Attend a meeting at your student’s school along with their parents, and the key school contact.

October 2019 – May 2020

Mentoring continues at mentor’s workplace; approximately two meetings per term. Each meeting lasts for around half an hour.

June 2020 – July 2020

Four-week internship at the mentor’s workplace.

August 2020 – April 2021

Mentoring continues at mentor’s workplace; approximately two meetings per term. Each meeting lasts for around half an hour.

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