‘Banking on a brighter future’

A big thanks to BAML 2Christian Neske, Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities country head, Germany & Austria at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for his guest blog about a recent Inspiring the Future/Primary Futures event he participated in along with many other volunteers and children from a number of London primary schools.

I’ve done a couple of volunteering events, but this one was by far the most fun, intriguing and rewarding.

On 22 May, I signed up for an Inspiring the Future event at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s splendid King Edward Hall with 150+ Year 6 students (10-11 years of age), to raise aspirations, help them make the connection between school and work, and give them an insight into jobs they may not be aware of and may consider as a possible career.

It is probably fair to say, that becoming a Business Continuity Consultant or Credit Risk Officer is not at the top of the job charts of 10-year olds when they first think of a bank. So I knew I had my work cut out! My goal was therefore to explain how many work opportunities exist at a bank and that numeracy and literacy are key skills that can be matched to a variety of opportunities.

_R4A1976I started off by joining one of the many tables, trying to break the ice amongst the 9-10 students already seated. The majority of my first group were girls who spoke English as a second language. I had been well briefed by our team on warming-up-techniques, but did not need any. What I met at Table 1 were curious, lively, chatty and interested students: ‘What do you do all day? Do you handle any cash? Do you get to speak to clients on the telephone? Do you get to travel a lot?’

Particularly the latter point of ‘internationality’ became a recurring theme over our two hours together. Most of the 30 students I met had been on trips abroad to visit their relatives, so when we did our quiz on stage of WHERE AM I FROM? They were quick to ask smart and inquisitive questions, demonstrating a huge interest, knowledge and fascination. My German origin was ultimately unmasked when I was asked for my favorite German footballer: Mesut Özil at Arsenal FC gave it away!

All in all it was a joyful and intense two hours of networking with very bright and keen students. While we may have struggled to detail all of the other bank volunteers’ job descriptions, I did meet one kid who wanted to become a detective and I was able to confirm, that Bank of America Merrill Lynch does indeed have such a job profile on offer.

Why not join Primary Futures part of the Inspiring the Future family as a volunteer? You can find out more by checking out the Inspiring the Future website http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/ and follow the volunteer link. You can of course also register on the Primary Futures site http://www.inspiringthefuture.org/primary-futures/ Just giving an hour of your time could have a massive impact on raising the aspirations of children and young people.

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By Steve Iredale

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