Joshua Irish

Joshua Irish

Who was your mentor?

Piers Williamson, Project Manager at Lloyds Banking Group

Why did you decide to take part in the Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme?

I was initially interested in the Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme as I desperately wanted someone who I could rely on for honest and professional guidance on my various steps to entering my chosen career. As the only member of my immediate family to attend University, Piers has become a key contact.

How have you found the experience?

My mentor, Piers Williamson, has been an invaluable resource during my first year at University. We first met on 11th November 2014, and right away he made me feel at ease and supported. He has been a personal contact for advice and guidance on all things to do with career aims as well as University life and I have gained advice on career pathways and the differences between different industries and jobs.

I could not have asked anything more of Piers. As a mentor, he has always been available in my time of need or confusion as I can reach him on mobile or email, often at very short notice and get a response. In addition, he will also give a little check-up call every now and then to check my progress which is an added bonus for maintaining our relationship. We have even connected on LinkedIn which furthers this cause.

What help and support did you receive from your mentor?

At first, I had very little career focus or specific queries as there were so many questions I had unanswered. I felt that Piers handled these very well, even when they did not relate to any specific experiences he had himself had. As time progressed and my knowledge of certain career areas increased, I was able to focus on the guidance I really needed and this has been a great help. Piers has given me direction on CV’s, Covering Letters and the general application process and procedures for entering the career fields. He has also given me constant encouragement to improve my soft skills and become engaged in the various opportunities on offer at the University. I have followed his guidance, and it has brought me many benefits. I feel that I have become a better-rounded candidate for job applications as well as more attractive to the field of work I have my sights set on. I am hoping to gain a job in Consulting with a ‘Big Four’ firm, specifically Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and I am happy to say that after a year, I am one step closer to realising this goal.

Piers helped me to understand how to build a CV that lends itself well to the career path I would like to go down and how to take as many steps in that direction as possible, no matter how small. From this, I researched PwC and went to talks advertised by the Careers Centre, which addressed this. I then applied and secured a one-week internship in Assurance, which gave me a real insight into the typical work day of a PwC Accountant. After switching service line, I have been invited back for an 8-week internship in Management Consulting.

How often did you speak with your mentor?

We would speak or meet at least once a month. This was a mixture of face-to-face meetings along with emails and phone conversations.

Did your mentor help you secure any professional experience opportunities?

The help provided to me by my mentor meant I was in a better position to secure professional experience than I would otherwise have been.

Would you recommend taking part in the Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme?

The Nurturing Talent Mentor Scheme for me has been a great success, delivering on all the various hopes and aims I had at the beginning. I would recommend to all those seeking guidance on career choices and their pathways.

Are there any other experiences or achievements from your time at University that you would like to tell us about?

I am the Undergraduate School Rep for Management, Marketing and Human Resources for the year 2014-2015. I am also a Course Rep for the School of Geography and a Student Ambassador for the Leeds University Business School.

During my first year, I ran in the 2014 Student Exec elections for the Leeds University Union. Voting was from 17th -21st March for which I was placed 2nd for the role of Welfare Officer (2049 out of 8067 votes).

I also undertook a 12-week placement in the Research and Innovation Service at University of Leeds. My role was to develop an Interactive Electronic Guide to help streamline and consolidate their processes in progressing innovations at the University through to exploitation as a commercially viable output.