Teenage years are difficult.
The rapid physical and emotional changes experienced combined with an array of social challenges, school pressures and important decisions that will impact their future makes it a very overwhelming time in young peoples’ lives.
But a key source of motivation for teenagers is to realise their dreams for work and life. These aspirations don’t just rely on how hard they work or how talented they are. They are hugely influenced by personal circumstances, background, friends, families, and depth of knowledge about the world of work and the many options available to them.
Career Ready is a network of employers and educators who believe that every young person, regardless of background, deserves help and guidance to discover their unlimited potential to kickstart a rewarding career and future. The programme was created to empower young people by connecting them to the world of work, by providing workplace experiences, career insights, and a network of support.
Our Managing Director, Cerri McDonald is a Career Ready Mentor this year. Cerri has been matched with Salina, a S5 student from St Machar Academy and for the next two years, together they will build a trusting relationship that will support Salina to develop the skills and attitudes needed for the world of work.
We decided to speak to Cerri about her commitment to the Career Ready Programme to find out a little more about the mentoring experience…
How did you come across Career Ready?
The lovely Kim Stephen, Head of Sales at P&J Live, told me about the programme. Being a mentor herself, and having recently joined the Career Ready board, Kim shared insight into the importance of the programme, explained how it can change lives and although demanding, just how personally rewarding and fulfilling it had been for her and many others. I really loved hearing about the many ways that employers and mentors can help teenagers to make good decisions about school and life to transform their future.
Why did you sign up for the mentoring programme?
I have always had a passion for working with young people during my career. Over the years, I have supported many school career initiatives to give guidance and provide insight on what it is like to work in marketing. This has ranged from small career talks, supporting business management and marketing projects in schools to large scale career presentations at Offshore Europe.
Now as an employer, I feel I can do more. Prospect 13 is focused on ‘improving your future outlook’ through relationships that add real value – for my team and my clients. It is at the heart of everything we do, and it is why we actively get involved where possible with the Developing Young Workforce team as well as the RGU Placement Programme. The Career Ready mentoring programme felt like a natural next step.
How do you think these programmes can benefit young people?
Career Ready provides a platform to experience building trusting relationships. This is key in life. The mentoring programme will form the basis for having the right discussions around strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, goals and opportunities – all of which will help answer some important life decisions. This sort of personal support and guidance is priceless at this stage in life, and it can open so many doors as well as hone natural talent and teach new aptitudes preparing young teens for the future.
What will you focus on during this programme?
I plan to help my mentee, Salina, establish what her hopes and dreams are. But more importantly, help her see that her future is in her hands and with the right decisions, she can make those dreams happen. Salina is interested in a career in business and working in a role that will support people. Together we will explore the many careers available in business and I want to open her eyes to the many avenues available and then help create a positive career pathway.
What will you get out of this?
There are gaps in the system, and I want to give something back. Having the ability to bring positive impact to a young person’s future will be hugely rewarding. I will feel truly honoured to be a part of that.
In terms of what I will personally learn from this, I am hoping it will strengthen and further develop my leadership skills, and act as a good reminder about why I love my work and why I do what I do. We should always be learning and advancing, pushing outside our comfort zones so we continue to progress professionally. This whole experience hopefully gives me a deeper appreciation of the value of support and understanding I can give to someone starting their next chapter.
What are you most looking forward to during your mentorship?
To see positive outcomes! The prospect of improving Salina’s future outlook is exciting and I look forward to watching her blossom as she gains confidence and direction over the next two years.
My team are also looking forward to having Salina come to the office as part of the programme placement and getting the opportunity to see if Marketing is something for her or not.
Watch this space as Cerri facilitates unlimited potential discovery for Salina…
For more information on Career Ready, visit: www.careerready.org.uk/