A north-east 17-year-old has spotlighted the value of a national initiative aimed at preparing young people for the world of work.
Carrie Ingram was offered a chance to get involved with the Career Academies UK programme late last year while studying at Kincorth Academy in Aberdeen.
The programme – a blend of internships, mentoring by employer volunteers, masterclasses and workplace visits designed to complement students’ studies – aims to allow participants to gain the skills required to perform more effectively in the wider world.
As part of the initiative, Carrie linked up with leading energy firm Hunting at its main manufacturing and development facility south of Aberdeen at Badentoy in Portlethen.
Before undertaking the 18-month programme, Carrie was assigned a mentor at Hunting, and she could go to him for extra guidance and advice as she worked through her school studies. This mentor was also responsible for overseeing a five-week internship that Carrie completed over the summer.
After being involved initially in an operational role, Carrie was placed in Hunting’s finance division for the final week and a bit of her placement.
That week turned into another week and she now has a full-time position as an accounts assistant after excelling throughout her time with firm.
Carrie, who almost did not sign up for the programme until a friend persuaded her to take part, is now looking ahead to continuing to mix learning and work as she settles into the world of full-time employment.
She said: “When we got told about the Career Academies programme at school, it sounded, to be honest, like something only the elite pupils could participate in so I initially steered clear.
“It wasn’t until I heard someone I knew was inquiring about the programme that I then decided to do the same and I’m delighted that I finally made the step to get involved.
“I’ve been working with mentors at Hunting since October last year and I undertook my five-week internship earlier in summer.
“I was really interested in geography at school so I was initially placed in an operational role as I thought it would suit me best.
“My mentor, John Noble, is the firm’s financial controller, so we decided to place me within that department for a short time and I haven’t really looked back since.
“I’m thrilled that Hunting has been able to offer me a full-time position and I’m looking forward to completing the Career Academies programme, and beginning my learning for my Cima qualification, through which the firm has agreed to support me.
“I’d recommend the programme to all pupils looking to get involved with the working world.
“I believe that it really has transformed me as a person, helping me become more confident in myself, and it has given me the belief that I can succeed at whatever I set out to achieve.
“You really don’t realise the importance of opportunities like this until it happens to yourself.”