A soundbite from our Let's Do Business speakers in Manchester

Duncan McCombe, Career Ready graduate, Founder of Network Young

“When I was 16 I had no idea what I wanted to do after college. The Career Ready programme inspired me to kick start my career, particularly my internship with ITV. I had responsibilities – I had to get up at 6am to commute into Manchester and manage my finances well now that I was being paid. I loved this new found independence and having thought I wanted to go to university, the work placement gave me the confidence to set up my own social enterprise, Network Young, which is going from strength to strength. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending Career Ready to other schools, colleges and employers.”

Anne Spackman, Chief Exectutive, Career Ready

“We have been given an overview from Ofsted of the four key elements they look for in a careers programme. These are:

  • Making sure young people have access to independent advice and know what opportunities are available to them – whether that be apprenticeships, school leaver programmes or straight into employment.
  • Supporting young people to develop the key skills they need for any career, such as knowing how to communicate, solve problems and work in teams.
  • Ensuring young people have the qualifications they need for their future career success
  • Having individual study programmes for students aged 16-19

“The job market is now much more complicated and young people no longer have to climb a career ladder;  they have to navigate a career scaffold.”

Brad Arden, Career Ready student, Oldham College

“Most people in my family don’t have a business background so I had no idea what steps I might want to take after college. My Career Ready mentor, David, has helped me think about what career I want to get into and how I can get there. He has supported me with everything from building a CV to preparing for interviews so I can make sure I stand out from the competition. I think the most important benefit of having a mentor, though, is being able to talk to someone from the world of work who can give you a real insight into different industries and the routes available.” 

Geoff Evans, Head of Professional and Financial Services, FutureSkills - part of Salford City College

“I’ve been involved with Career Ready for six years now and I’m passionate about supporting students to have that natural progression from education to employment. I have really strong employer engagement through my Local Advisory Board, which includes representatives from Lloyds, Grant Thornton, Baker Tilly, BDO, RBS, SISTV, RBS, Salford Council, The Peel Group and ITV. We meet once a term and discuss how they can support what we do – from getting their staff involved as mentors to providing internships. From their perspective it’s a chance to try before you buy and it’s fantastic to be in a position now where our students are going on to work for the companies who gave them internships.”

Steve Taylor, Area Leader Careers and Partnerships, Manchester Communications Academy

“I am a passionate advocate for employer engagement and we have restructured our curriculum to put these kind of activities on the timetable every Friday. It doesn’t matter what size your company is, if you can offer a 20 minute presentation that’s great. The main thing is making it sustainable so activities can continue year after year. Partnerships don’t happen overnight, you need to be patient and work hard to develop relationships. Both sides need to be clear in their expectations so that it is a mutually beneficial experience.”

Christian Mancier, Partner, Gorvins Solicitors 

“There are lots of benefits for businesses in getting involved with local schools and colleges. You can increase your profile and brand awareness and improve your Corporate Social Responsibility credentials, which can help you win awards and gain media coverage. Working with Career Ready gives you the chance to network with other local businesses and develop new relationships and giving your staff the chance to volunteer helps improve staff satisfaction which in turn increases staff retention. Most importantly though, I think business leaders have a moral obligation to give something back to the next generation. From my experience the more you put in the more you get out so if you find it difficult to recruit new staff with the right skills why not speak to your local schools and colleges and see if you can help to shape the curriculum so that you can build a talent pipeline. Let’s inspire the next generation of employees, business leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Matthew Dean, Deputy Head, Poynton High School 

“I called my presentation ‘Opening Doors for Sixth Form Students’ but I could have called it ‘Changing Lives’. The Career Ready programme raises students’ aspirations and encourages them to open their eyes to the huge range of opportunities available to them. The transformation you see is incredible – they gain confidence and are able to interact with anyone. They also build networks which are key in the job market today.”

Zubair Rana, Career Ready student, Salford City College 

“I always thought I wanted to go to university but after my Career Ready internship at ITV I realised there are lots of pathways to success. Working in the payroll department, I got a great idea of how the financial sector works and I was given a lot of responsibilities, including dealing with people’s enquiries and helping to make sure they received their pay. I never thought I’d have this opportunity to get started on my career pathway but now I’m inspired to work hard and become a successful businessman.”

Carolyn Savage, Head of Partnerships, National Careers Service Skills Funding Agency

“The National Careers Service provides a free, impartial and confidential careers advice service, including a phone advice line and webchat. We can answer questions from what subjects to study for specific careers to how to get an apprenticeship. We also have a skills health check tool to help young people identify what they’re really good at.

“The Skills Funding Agency also funds the National Apprenticeships Service and this is an important area of growth, with the government committing to 3 million more apprenticeships in this parliament. There is lots of support available for both schools and employers and we are particularly developing higher and degree level apprenticeships. For more information we have a free schools pack, a dedicated employer helpline and grants available for smaller employers taking on a young person for the first time.”

Andrew Heydeman, National Careers Service local partner

“The heart of the inspiration vision is to inspire young people to make better informed career choices. To help achieve this, in the North West and Staffordshire we have established a careers inspiration team of seven coordinators. Our role is to bring together all the brokerage and engagement activities taking place and help you to make sense of it all. There are a lot of excellent resources available and we aim to help you get better access to those resources, and  the extensive information, advice and guidance on offer. For example we have hundreds of detailed job profiles that young people can access, available on our National Careers Service website.”