Megan Harrington, a student at Cardiff and Vale College, has won a UK-wide award recognising her achievements during the Career Ready programme.
As one of just two students selected as national winners of the Sir Winfried Bischoff Award, 19-year-old business studies student Megan will be going on an all-expenses paid trip to New York in August.
Tracy Bird, CAVC’s Career Ready programme co-ordinator, said: “We are so proud of Megan – she is the first Welsh student to win the national award and have the opportunity to visit New York. She couldn’t be a more deserving winner.
“Megan is a fantastic role model for younger students and the progress she has made on her Career Ready journey shows the huge impact this programme has on our students – helping them to realise their own potential and develop the key skills, attributes and experience they need for future career success.”
Cardiff and Vale College is a committed member of the Career Ready programme as part of its drive to ensure students are employable and able to add instant value to any workplace.
Career Ready is the national charity that links with schools and colleges to prepare for the world of work. Alongside their academic studies, Career Ready students benefit from a two-year programme of regular mentoring, workplace visits, masterclasses and internships.
During the programme, Megan was given the opportunity to visit the London offices of international law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which she described as a life-changing experience. She later successfully applied for a paid internship with Freshfields, living on her own in London for six weeks.
“Before Career Ready I was very shy and introverted – I struggled meeting new people and speaking in larger groups,” Megan said. “I was completing a business course but had no specific career plan and no real idea about that to do next.
“My internship with Freshfields was an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much about myself and the steps I need to take to get to where I want to be. Without Career Ready I would be coming to the end of college with no real ambitions or motivation. I wouldn’t be going to university, especially anywhere away from home, and I wouldn’t feel confident in my own abilities.”
Debbie Farrell, Finance Business Manager at Freshfields, organised the internships and support Megan throughout the experience.
Debbie said: “During those six weeks I was so proud to see how far Megan developed – both in her skills and her confidence. She faced some incredibly tough challenges being away from home for such a long period of time but her maturity and her determination to complete the internship helped her to realise her own abilities and unlock her potential.”
Speaking of winning the trip to New York, Megan said: “I just want to thank everyone who’s been involved in my journey for the last two years – it’s meant so much to me. Thank you to Cardiff and Vale College Career Ready Programme and to Sir Win himself for this award.”
Megan was not the only CAVC winner at the event, held in London’s Canary Wharf. IT student Jamie Lamb won third prize in the AstraZeneca STEM Student of the Year Awards in the Technology category.
And Marlene Harries, local CEO for Cardiff and Glamorgan NatWest Banking Group, won Volunteer of the Year for her work with Cardiff and Vale College Career Ready Programme.