Career Ready tells students that their place in the world is whichever one they want to work at

If you can just reach one person – one throw away comment or one well timed nudge might make people view things differently.

Who are you?

My name is Barry Sewell, I’m UK Service Delivery Leader at RSA.  I am a LAB Member and Mentor at All Saints Catholic Centre for Learning in Liverpool. In 2016 I was awarded Volunteer of the Year. 

Why did you get involved in Career Ready?

My own background very much matched that of the students that Career Ready help out. I came from a deprived area of Hartlepool and was fortunate enough to get a job as an accounting technician at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. 

I was really keen to ensure that I could use that experience to help others realise that they could move into the corporate world and succeed, and to prepare them for rising to that challenge. 

What has been the most important thing you’ve done with Career Ready?

Mentoring. Absolutely the most important thing. And talking with the students. If you can just reach one person – one throw away comment or one well timed nudge might make people view things differently. Giving someone the opportunity to think differently about their options is vital. 

A lot of the limitations for people from disadvantaged areas is being told what you can’t achieve. Someone who is there telling you that you can achieve it makes all the difference. 

Why would you recommend supporting Career Ready to other employers?

It works, it matters, and it makes a difference. Being able to see the difference, and in some cases massive turnaround, in the students from the beginning to the end of the process is humbling. It is amazing to see.

For a lot of these students they have “accepted” their place in the world. It’s great that Career Ready tells them that their place in the world is whichever one they want to work at.

How does it feel to be recognised as Volunteer of the Year?

Actually, I am a little embarrassed to be nominated. I do this because it matters to me. If I can spark an interest, or change the life opportunities of just one student – whether I mentor them or not – then all of the effort will be worth it. So being nominated for something you love doing feels a little bit guilty.