Aliyah Green, aged 18, recently took part in BNY Mellon’s 2016 Skills Development Programme in the UK. The two-day London event was designed to give students an opportunity to learn about the financial services industry and the skills required to work within it as part of the company’s focus of investing in developing workplace skills for the next generation. We asked Aliyah if she would like to share her experiences from the program.
I have recently been doing some volunteer work with TaskSquad, a charity that helps young people gain paid work experience. Through this programme I learnt about BNY Mellon’s Skills Development Day and the opportunity to gain insights and experience about financial services.
No one in my family or among those I knew worked in financial services, and I never thought I would be interested in pursuing a career in banking, but the information about BNY Mellon’s Skills Development Day intrigued me and I applied for it.
Having completed my school studying this summer, I was taking a year off before starting university next autumn. I wanted to use this time to try out different things, gain experience in different types of jobs, to see which might be a good match for my personality and skills.
I had never been in an office environment, not to mention one at a global financial services company the size of BNY Mellon. I felt terribly intimidated before I stepped through BNY Mellon’s door on day 1 of the programme. But the warm welcome everyone from the organising team and other students gave me immediately dispelled any fears I had.
We were put in teams that would work together over the next two days and while we were all from different backgrounds and had different personalities, everyone bonded very quickly. I loved that everyone around me was bright and bubbly and so eager to learn.
The programme was arranged in a way that is was fun, interactive, and really helped us gain a good understanding of what it is like working in financial services. Before the programme I had no idea of the differences between bonds and equities, or what stock picking was, but the Top Trader game helped me learn about them all in such a fun and thrilling way.
We also learnt about the skills we would need to succeed in a business environment, from the ability to communicate confidently and persuasively, to how to work well in a team. I particularly enjoyed the public speaking workshop. The techniques I learned in the Dragon Den’s style pitching session helped me overcome my nerves and my fear of presenting to large groups.
Most importantly, the programme opened my eyes to the vast arrays of roles available within a bank such as BNY Mellon. The diversity of the people that I met during the two day programme amazed me. I learned that regardless of your background, race, religion or even the subject you study, there could be a suitable role for you at BNY Mellon.
I’m thankful to BNY Mellon and TaskSquad for making me aware of this programme. It was a great opportunity for young people like me to take on new challenges, learn vital skills, and gain useful insights into what it is like to work in banking. For me personally, my perception about a career in financial services has completely changed, and I can now imagine myself enjoying and thriving in such an environment.