Career Ready Case Studies: Rachel and Carrie
Since 2002, Career Ready has worked with employers of all sizes and sectors to provide young people with high-quality, paid internships. As a paid internship and mentoring programme, it supports young people (often facing barriers to education or future employment) over two years in S5 and S6, to develop key employability skills, confidence, and clarity on their career aspirations.
DYW Fife has supported the Career Ready programme for the last five years, with young people from all 18 High Schools given the opportunity to participate. As an employer, Fife Council has been a huge supporter of the Career Ready programme, providing 22 mentors and internships during the summer in 2021.
Carrie Lindsay of Fife Council tells her Career Ready story along with her mentee, Rachel Crouthers.
Carrie Lindsay, Career Ready Mentor, employed in Fife Council
Carrie’s Career Ready Story:
“I left school at 16 because school didn’t really work that well for me. I attended Fife College and studied Nursery Nursing. I realised when doing that job that I wanted to be a teacher but didn’t have any Highers so I had to do them before I could apply for university. I loved teaching from the outset and was fortunate to learn my trade at Donibristle Primary before becoming a DHT, HT, an Education Officer and then Head of Education. Being in my current role as Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services allows me to help shape education and children and families social work to make sure that children and young people are always at the centre of what we do.
Many of my schools were part of the Career Ready programme and the first time I attended a graduation and saw the impact it was having on the students I knew it was something I would like to be involved in. Since being involved I have been encouraging other Fife Council staff to get involved and we now have over 20 staff involved in being Mentors.
Rachel was keen to experience working in a nursery setting. She had been studying childcare as a Foundation Apprenticeship but because of the pandemic was unable to attend a nursery/ELC setting in person. I was able to organise a three day a week placement at Fair Isle Family Nurture Centre, I set Rachel assignments related to her placement for the fourth day and she undertook Career Ready work for the fifth day.
It was a different experience to meet your student online. I’ve mentored students before and enjoyed the face-to-face contact when getting to know each other. However, that just wasn’t possible at the start, so we had an almost weekly check in on the phone or through text. When it was possible, we then met at a coffee shop and met in school. Rachel knew she lacked confidence in certain situations, and she wanted to change that. I was really impressed with how she tackled all the challenges I set her to help her confidence including approaching her guidance teacher and headteacher.
The best part for me with Rachel was visiting her at Fair Isle Family Nurture Centre at the end of her internship. She was glowing and exuding confidence. Although nervous about doing a presentation, she was so happy with her experience and that came across from the minute I went into the room to see her. Rachel’s teacher from Kirkcaldy High School had also come along to hear her presentation (in her holidays) and Rachel was really pleased at that too.
The experience of mentoring this time helped me to understand some of the stressors for our young people when they are trying to make decisions about their future careers and shone a light on some parts in the education system that don’t match some young people’s needs.
Rachel was so nervous on day one of her internship that she had to get her dad to walk with her to Fair Isle Family Nurture Centre. When I phoned her that night and she told me, I was so proud that she had used her dad as a support rather than phoning in sick. She was glad she had gone too. Her confidence grew every day and by the last day she was asking if she could stay for the afternoon and come back in the future for more experience.
Being a Career Ready Mentor is not just a way to give something back to help someone else, it genuinely gives you a buzz when you see your student developing their skills and confidence. It did also help me to see the school experience from a young person’s view and made me think differently about a few things.”
Career Ready Mentee, Rachel Crouthers, aged 16 from Kirkcaldy
Rachel’s Career Ready Story:
“Before the mentorship I just wanted to do childcare after school at a nursery, I had no thoughts about how to get to there. Thinking about the programme before it began, I had hoped to get a chance to gain experience within a nursery and to find out more about working in childcare.
The relationship between me and my mentor, Carrie, is really good – she helped me so much with my internship and my school life by helping me with subject choices. Overall, she is a nice person to talk with about anything that was difficult for me in the line of childcare.
My internship was amazing! I got to go to a nursery three days a week for four weeks and the place was just around the corner from me so that I didn’t have to be worried about transport and all of the experience that I got from there really helped me with the decision about what I want to do for the future and made me see things about myself that I didn’t know.
During the internship I have discovered a lot of things about myself like I have a lot more patience with children that I didn’t know I had; my confidence grew within those 4 weeks that I hope will stay with me for a while. I have got better at talking with adults and asking questions, which at the start I was not that good at.
The best thing about the Career Ready Internship was all the relationships I made with not only the children but with the other teachers there and they made me feel welcome there. We had a beach party during one of those days within the four weeks and it was so much fun to do random things with the children and have fun with the other teachers.
The Career Ready experience has definitely helped me with my future decision of what to do after high school. I learned a lot during those four weeks that have made me get a better understanding of the world of childcare.
I would say to anyone like me, who is thinking about getting involved in Career Ready, this programme is a chance of a lifetime in getting a better understanding about a career choice that you are thinking about doing after school. Getting the chance to have an experience in that career is so good for helping you understand if you really want to go on that path. Having a mentor who can help you with your career and can be a good friend to have for the future (either for a reference or just a person that you can go to for advice) is really good as well… so go for it!”
Working closely with DYW Fife, dozens of employers across Fife have already shown their commitment to young talent through Career Ready this year – will you join them? To find out more about DYW and Career Ready for your business, contact our Business Engagement Executive, Amanda Liddell.
Call: 07527 545 733