Chikumo Fiseko graduated from the Career Ready programme at Longley Park Sixth Form College in 2013. She is now studying Business and Enterprise Management at Sheffield Hallam University, while also running two businesses – Mostly Muffins and Tiger J Chocolates.
Chikumo credits Career Ready with giving her the confidence, experience and networks she needed to start her own entrepreneurial career.
"I initially applied for the Career Ready programme at college because I wanted some work experience and I knew I might get a paid placement. Looking back on the experience, I gained so much more than just that.
"The programme gives you some of the core skills you need to work in a professional environment. I definitely developed my time keeping, prioritisation and ability to work in a group, as well as improving my communication and presenting skills. But more importantly, you are given the opportunity to engage with business people and learn directly from them.
"My mentor, Jonathan, works at Cater Allen Private Bank. He supported me throughout the programme, not only with work-related topics like my CV and preparing for an interview, but he even helped me with my driving theory test. We discussed my business plan and he helped me to run some charity events to raise brand awareness for my business.
"During my internship with Sheffield City Council, I worked as a Finance Assistant and even though I didn’t expect to enjoy it, I loved learning about the real world of accountancy. I worked with a different department each week and the teams gave me some great advice on my own business. They also helped me research university courses and advised me based on their own experiences.
"Without Career Ready I don’t think I’d be where I am now. I met amazing people who have supported me in so many different ways. I would never have had the confidence to start a business if I hadn’t gained those skills and been given that network and I am excited about the next stages of my career."