Career Ready - Empowering Young People
One of the most enjoyable parts of my role as Community and Skills Coordinator, is having the opportunity to engage with, and support young people as they assess their own skills and start making plans for their future careers.
PDMS delivers the Career Ready programme on the Isle of Man, with funding from The Isle of Man Department for Enterprise. The programme has been running here since 2014 and has successfully supported many young people as they embark on their own career paths. By enabling them to identify and develop their employability skills, the programme equips students with the confidence and knowledge to succeed.
The programme facilitates first-hand experiences of local employers and companies by means of visits, presentations and work placements, as well as each student having their own mentor- who are volunteers from our Island’s business community. Several members of PDMS staff volunteer as mentors on the programme too. Mentoring not only benefits the student but allows the mentor themselves to develop their own skills set - including use of strategies such as communication, relationship building and facilitation. Personally, I have always found mentoring rewards me with the opportunity to encourage a young person in gaining confidence in themselves and their choices.
We recently invited one of this year’s mentees to have a look around our Isle of Man office and to meet some of our colleagues, offering him the opportunity to find out more about work in the sector. As well as the student being able to ask questions and learn about the different roles and responsibilities, it was such a privilege for me to hear from my colleagues about their own career paths and routes into their current role. As a careers advisor, I’m always keen to hear career stories - especially from those who have taken a less traditional route, have returned to education, or have taken a chance opportunity to move into a different sector.
Within PDMS we have a great mix of examples of individuals taking each of these routes to navigate themselves into a successful career in the digital sector. It’s interesting to observe that sometimes a specific path is not always the deciding factor in which job we have, but it can often be influenced by having the motivation to pursue our interests, the opportunity and support in making informed choices, and sometimes the confidence to take an unexpected opportunity or a deviation from our planned route.
The Career Ready programme allows young people to identify and develop some of these key career planning skills before they leave formal education, and hopefully this will be a useful toolkit throughout their working lives. At a time when academic study is such a big focus for young people, it’s great to have the opportunity to consider that a career is yours and yours only- it’s not just a job, it requires self-awareness, planning, confidence, and resilience, and here at PDMS we have been privileged to not only encourage and support that process with Year 12 students on the Career Ready programme, but to observe evidence of career success among our own colleagues.