Project Description

Career Ready Case Studies: Simon and Ruby

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.

Simon Warren of Fife Council tells his Career Ready story along with his mentee, Ruby Barker.

Simon Warren, Career Ready Mentor, employed by Fife Council

Simon’s Career Ready Story:

I have been an Active Schools Coordinator in Fife for 11 years – two years with my current cluster in Lochgelly and the previous nine in the St. Andrew’s RC HS cluster. Throughout my career, I have worked with children from a wide variety and backgrounds. I work with nursery children to S6 and support volunteers such as parents, teachers and college students. I also have a range of sports specific qualifications and experience delivering programmes such as Sports Leadership, Bikeability and Competition Organiser training.

Fife Council supported me through the process, having a Developing Young Workforce Lead available to answer any specific questions or queries.  My line manager advocated members of the Active Schools team becoming involved with Career Ready and was fully supportive of the process throughout.

I wanted to get involved to make a positive difference to a young person.  I was keen to support their learning in an alternative environment to their formal schooling, helping them to develop new skills and find out more about themselves.

I had established that my mentee, Ruby, had an ambition to become a Primary School teacher, so I wanted to make the placement as practical as possible with opportunities to directly work with children.  I gave Ruby the opportunity to plan and lead within our summer holiday programmes and work directly with children who had additional support needs.  Ruby also went to additional Active Schools training to develop her sports delivery knowledge and attended some meetings to get experience of working alongside other professionals.

I was impressed straight away with her positive attitude and willingness to learn.  We were able to identify strengths and areas of development at the beginning of the mentoring process and referred to these throughout.  I challenged Ruby to develop her teamwork skills, as working with other young people would be a crucial part of the summer delivery.  She embraced this challenge and fitted in well with the other young people, whom she had previously never met.

The best part of the Career Ready programme, for me, was seeing Ruby use her initiative when working with children and take charge of leading small groups.  During the catch ups we had it was also positive to see Ruby realise that she had developed new qualities and was able to draw on her placement experiences for her university applications.

The best part overall, was the placement.  This was the opportunity to work with the mentee directly and support their learning and development – Ruby did very well!  She had to travel on several buses to reach the placement and was on time every day.  During the week I was on annual leave, she also had to work with several other Active Schools Coordinators, who all commented positively about her demeanour and approach to work.  Ruby gained experience working with a range of P1-7 children from a variety of backgrounds.  She developed additional sports coaching skills as well as a greater understanding of barriers to participating in sport through a small survey she completed.  Ruby identified teamwork and creativity as two personal qualities she had developed and is now able to draw on specific examples to highlight her experience in these areas.

If anyone else is considering becoming a Career Ready mentor, I’d say go for it!  My advice would be to always put the mentee first and support them to make their choices.”


Career Ready Mentee, Ruby Barker, aged 16, from St Andrew’s RC High School

 Ruby’s Career Ready Story:

“Before I began the Career Ready programme, I aspired to become a Primary School Teacher and hoped to gain experience in working with children to ensure it was the career I wanted.

Fortunately, my mentor had previously worked at my school, so I already knew him. When first meeting him though, I was initially nervous as I personally find meeting new people a challenge. However, once I realised it was Simon I wasn’t as nervous, and I settled into the experience.

Overall, I think my internship was very exciting. I got the opportunity to work with lots of different people and go to different schools too. I have learned leadership skills through being given the opportunity to lead games and sessions with the children. I have also developed my ability to speak confidently in front of people and give clear instructions.

The best thing about my Career Ready experience was meeting new people and making new friends. I am fortunate enough to still be in contact with the people I worked alongside in my internship. Through this experience I have been able to decide that I do want to try teaching as a career and teach young children. Watching my mentor and others teach and work with primary-age children has shown me first-hand the skills that I need to have. Through the Career Ready experience, I have been able to take these on board and gain confidence in my ability to move forward with my career plans.

If anyone is thinking about trying a Career Ready internship, I would recommend that they definitely do it! I was a bit scared to sign up for it to start with… however it has opened so many opportunities for me and I am really proud I took the chance.”

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? Find out more about DYW and Career Ready for your business, by contacting our Business Engagement Executive, Amanda Liddell.

Call: 07527 545 733