Think back to when you were in Year 10. Did anyone give you advice on where your strengths or passions could lead you in the world of work?
When you were in Year 11 or 12, was there someone who encouraged you, told you that you could achieve whatever you set your mind to?
For many people, the answer to these questions is “no” – including Sales Manager Kellie Laguzza. It’s one of the reasons she decided to get involved with Beacon Foundation’s career mentoring program, MyRoad.
“When I was in Year 10 this was definitely not something they did. I had no direction at school, no idea what I wanted to do.”
Kellie spoke to Beacon Foundation just after she finished her first session as a volunteer mentor, in which she was connected with a small group of young women via video conferencing.
“I really loved it. I was really nervous but I was very open with the girls by telling them it was my first session.”
Kellie searched out a volunteering opportunity for herself and her workplace team. She works for Sage Software Australia and is an Ambassador for the Sage Foundation, through which employees are encouraged to take five days a year to help a charity of their choice.
Kellie says she liked the structure of Beacon Foundation’s MyRoad program and the chance to share the story of her career journey. She told the students she applied for hundreds of jobs before getting her first position.
“I think you really have to draw on your experience. The students like hearing about some of the failures you had along the way as well.”
Kellie believes the MyRoad program allows students to think about jobs they might not have thought about before. And, she says, it encourages them to identify transferrable skills they already have which are sought after by employers.
“I left them with a final thought – to think about their passions. When you find something you are passionate about, you will succeed.”
Letting her colleagues at Sage know about the program is the next step for Kellie, and she’s already booked into her second session as a mentor.
“I’ve had a lot of hurdles to overcome to get to where I am. I’m now considered very successful at what I do – but it wasn’t an easy road. If I’d had someone to support me along the way, I might have gone on a very different path to get here.”
By encouraging others to take up volunteer mentoring, Kellie hopes more young people will be able to answer “yes” to the questions that opened this article – and will go on to say yes to many and varied career opportunities.
MyRoad is a free online mentoring program aimed at engaging young women (aged 16-19) in career conversations about the world of work. Mentoring sessions run for two hours and focus on: thinking about a pathway after school, how digital technology is used in the workplace, challenges they might face in the workforce and how to navigate them, and tips on starting a career.
To get involved as a MyRoad volunteer mentor, head to this link.