The award, which was piloted in London and the South East in 2015, recognizes the individuals who spend the most time with Career Ready students, providing advice, guidance and a sounding board in one of the most transformational elements of the programme.
Rozin Hanjool, a student at Lyng Hall School in Coventry was mentored by Matthew Wheatley from Coventry Building Society.
Matthew said: “It wasn’t until my late twenties that I understood what I needed from the workplace in order to be happy. I saw Career Ready as a chance to give someone the guidance that might have set me on that course much earlier.
“The Career Ready programme can instill confidence in someone who has the skills to fulfil their ambitions but for one reason or another, doesn’t trust their instincts. A breakthrough like that makes a future that seemed daunting into something you’re excited about every morning.”
Rozin said: “Throughout the programme my mentor has helped me achieve things I never thought were possible. Thanks to the confidence he gave me, I took the initiative to start a petition about helping women who are victims of sexual violence in conflict, and even spoke to the media and to politicians, including Hilary Benn and Gordon Brown, about the issues in Syria and Iraq.
“Matthew’s support has set me up fantastically for the next stage in my career journey.”
Emily Seager, Regional Business Development Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, has been mentoring Razia Sobratty at Woodhouse College since 2014, and was awarded Mentor of the Year for the London and South East Region.
Emily said: “Thinking back 10 years to when I was at school and college, I was unsure of myself, unconfident, and am sure that some guidance and reassurance would have made a huge difference. To have the opportunity to support a student, to build their self-confidence, open up their eyes to a variety of careers and excite them about the prospect of their own future, is something very special to me.
“Career Ready is designed in such a way that it benefits everyone involved. Students develop their own understanding of the world of work, growing academically, personally and unlocking their potential. In return, mentors have a sense of achievement, watching and supporting a young person grow, but also I would say that those involved will grow and learn from their mentee as well.”
Winners of the award were presented with a trophy as their prize at the Awards Celebration event.
Meet the winners
- London and the South East: Emily Seager, Lloyds Banking Group – nominated by Razia Sobratty, Woodhouse College
- Wales, South West and Midlands: Matthew Wheatley, Coventry Building Society – nominated by Rozin Hanjool, Lyng Hall School
- North West: Caroline Smith, AstraZeneca – nominated by Lauren Wilkinson, Tytherington High School
- North East, Yorkshire & Humber: Emily Smith, formerly of Career Ready – nominated by Emily Wilkinson, St John Fisher Voluntary Academy
- Northern Ireland: Michelle McMullan, Citi – nominated by Eve Harrison, Belfast Metropolitan College