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Career Academies UK

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transform a young person's life chances through learning

Cadbury, Sheffield

Rachel Eagle, UK Export Finance Manager

Our Sheffield site is proud to have supported Career Academies UK for three years. In particular we provide support for Longley Park Sixth Form College, including sitting on their Local Advisory Board.

The College is in a deprived area of Sheffield and always looks to strengthen links with local and national businesses to help raise student aspirations. So it's great that we can help out as a major local employer, with around 500 employees. There are very few private employers as large as us in Sheffield now, since a lot of the manufacturing industries shut down.

As part of our relationship with Longley Park we help them look at the curriculum and advise them on where students would benefit from an industry link. We also run mock interviews with students, taking them through the recruitment process. Another vital aspect of the partnership is mentoring. We currently have three mentors - Partners in Business - who are paired with students throughout the two-year Career Academy course to offer help and advice.

Christopher has been our first Career Academy intern. We designated a lady called Fiona Bruce as a supervisor for Christopher, as we thought that it would be best for him to have one person to report to. Under Fiona's guidance he has spent time working in several areas of the company including export and factory finance and has been looking at forecasting - how customers tell us what they need and how this can be interpreted into a supply plan. He has also been involved in finance, looking at costs involved in making products and expenditure analysis.

From our perspective, Christopher's internship has given us the opportunity to think about how we go about our own training and coaching. It's rare that you get to work with someone who has never been in a business environment or even used email in the workplace before, so this has been a big challenge for staff. Certainly working with Christopher has been different from anything I've ever done, as I usually recruit people who have experience or qualifications in finance.

We've all been pleasantly surprised by Christopher's abilities. He's naturally very capable and learns quickly. Having him on board has been extremely rewarding. He's provided a fresh pair of eyes and given us a new perspective on how we run things. It's been useful to try and explain things to him, as it has helped us to get back to basics and articulate why we do some of the things we do.

It has also been incredibly rewarding to see him grow in confidence. Christopher is very shy and quiet but his confidence has grown so much and he has become a lot more outgoing. We can tell that he has benefitted from having positive feedback and support. I think now he realises ‘wow I can really do this and have lots to give!'