Career Ready internships aid young people’s future employability

Career Ready internships and work experience placements that have taken place across the UK this summer have helped open doors to future employment opportunities for young people.

Career Ready students got to experience the world of work in a number of different industries, including in STEM, hospitality, finance and banking, law and logistics, at companies including Santander, Lloyds Banking Group, Citi, AstraZeneca, Diageo and Standard Life.

Mark Thompson, a student from South West College in Northern Ireland who completed his internship at Ulster Bank, said: “Before the programme I did not have very much work experience. The programme has helped me to see what sort of skills and qualities I need to be employable. 

“Everyone at Ulster Bank was really friendly and helped me to improve my skills. They made me feel right at home, which made it a lot easier for me to get settled in.”

Every student who completes an internship will also give a final internship presentatation towards the end of the placement to their collegeues, in which they talk about what they have been doing as part of the internship, what they have learned and how it will help them in the future. 

Michelle Marr, Capability Consultant for Communications at Aviva, hosted a student from Perth Grammar school for an internship this summer. Michelle said:

“When Cody gave her final presentation in such a professional manner, I felt like a proud parent and I definitely had a little lump in my throat. By the end of her four weeks with me, she was absolutely focussed on what she wanted to do and had the tools at her disposal to make it happen.

“I think Cody went away with much more self-belief and was confident she could achieve any goal she set herself.”

This year a number of internships have resulted in job offers for students on the Career Ready programme. Travelodge, who began working with Career Ready in London and the South East this year, offered 19 students in the region a paid internship and a number of these placements resulted in a paid job.

Steve Barrett, Travelodge’s Regional Director for London, said: “Being involved with Career Ready has been a really worthwhile experience for Travelodge. This year some of our Hotel Managers have been so impressed by the interns that they have offered them permanent part-time jobs as a result of their internships. 

“This is great for us because we are recruiting people who have learned the basics over the summer, and also great for the students.”

One of the most common results reported by students after they are offered some work experience is that their confidence is vastly increased. 

Harry Donnelly, a Career Ready student from Prior Pursglove, completed his internship at Mobile Mini this summer. He said: “Before my internship I couldn’t speak publicly, I was horrendous at networking and I was too afraid to ask questions about my future. With no career plans, no understanding of the business world and no confidence, I wasn’t expecting anything special to become of my career.

“Surprisingly, the best part of my internship was the very first day. I woke up feeling very anxious – I was worrying about every single aspect of the experience. Although this seems completely awful it was later on when I realised that actually I should have felt incredibly excited!”

Harry’s internship supervisor Zoe Brookes, Marketing Director at Mobile Mini, added: “Harry got a real insight into life in a busy marketing department as well as a head office environment. 

“It is very rewarding watching someone grow in confidence, gain new skills, develop and really appreciate the guidance you have offered them.”

This summer we also held a social media competition where students who completed any type of work experience were invited to submit pictures using the hashtag #IAmCareerReady. Jakub Kulczycki, a Career Ready student at St Thomas More Catholic Academy who completed his internship at Lloyds Banking Group, was the overall winner of the competition with this short video that documents his experience.

Jakub said: “During the internship I enjoyed the responsibility of traveling and working. It was very difficult to adjust to it but it was worth it – I had to travel every day and then work in a place that I’ve never been and talk to hundreds of people that I didn’t know. As the days went by I felt comfortable doing my job and I became much more confident.

"Completing an internship at Lloyds Banking Group is a great thing to put on my CV and will give me an advantage which others may not have.”

Anne Spackman, Career Ready Chief Executive, said: “We know that our students having experiences of work is one of the most vital and significant parts of the programme and every year we see the profound impact that these placements have on our students. 

"This graph show the first evidence of progress against our Skills for Career Success learning outcomes from students who graduated from the Career Ready programme this year. It isn't suprising to see the transformational impact of the summer internship.

“But it’s not just the students who benefit – last year, of the 41 students who completed an internship at Lloyds Banking Group in London, 19 were offered future employment. Across the UK we see students set up meaningful relationships with employers that result in present or future work opportunities, helping employers to build up their own talented recruitment pipeline.”

Career Ready’s own intern, Raisa Baig from Harris Academy Greenwich, created a video during her internship which aimed to demonstrate the impact work placements can have. To view Raisa’s video please click here