Our Skills Development Programme in the UK has been a huge hit with students this year. We asked Alice Garrett, who led the team organizing the program, to share her reflections on the program’s key goals and achievements, as well as highlights for the students and BNY Mellon volunteers who were involved, and the focus on developing skills.
I was a student myself not too long ago, and remember the confusion I had when it came to thinking about what I should do after university. Many find the choice overwhelming and are unsure which path to take.
Having the opportunity to gain some first-hand exposure to the career I was considering was hugely helpful, especially when it came to deciding what my first step outside of university should be.
This is why I was thrilled when asked to take on the responsibility of leading the team organising BNY Mellon’s 2016 Skills Development Programme. The two-day London event was designed to give students, aged between 15 and 18, an opportunity to learn about the financial services industry and the skills required to work within it.
Forty three students took part in the programme this year, making it the largest number of attendants we’d had to date. We were particularly pleased to have students join us from charity partners we work with through our Community Partnership programme which focuses on developing skills for the workplace – Generating Genius, London Nautical School, Task Squad and Community Links.
The event focused on empowering the students to develop employability skills that will help them on their chosen career path and allow them to reach their full potential. We looked to help grow their professional and interpersonal skills, as well as build in functional skills such as presenting, team playing, and analytical and creative thinking. These skills are key building blocks for those looking to develop a career in financial services.
One of the highlights of the event was the “Dragons’ Den” style pitches at the end of day two. Students were put into teams and given a task to create a product which was then pitched to a panel of judges made up of three employees from BNY Mellon: Elizabeth Canning (EMEA Pershing CAO), Ibinabo Nwanze (Business Analyst, Regional Area Management), and Janet Johnstone, EMEA CAO.
Over the course of the two days, each group quickly bonded, and soon overcame their nerves and fears to deliver some truly fantastic pitches. All the pitched products had individual strengths, with considerations given to environmental concerns, healthy lifestyles, the benefit of giving back to the community, as well as commercial elements.
I was really pleased to see students visibly gain confidence and motivation over the two days, developing workplace skills that I think will leave them well placed to make a positive contribution to their own lives and to the community.
The students were also able to gain first hand insights into the corporate world, deepening their understanding of the different roles in financial services, the benefits of life at BNY Mellon and learning about our community and culture.
Through meeting the BNY Mellon volunteers the students also learnt that colleagues are friendly, funny and down to earth, and that working in financial services can be enjoyable and exciting. For me, it was also hugely rewarding to see the group blossom over the two days, and to witness the formation of new friendships.
If you are interested in joining BNY Mellon please click here to access our careers page and see what roles might be right for you.