I’m very passionate about attracting young graduate talent to the City and providing opportunities for them to gain valuable experience. This is so important as they will be the managers and leaders of the future.
I believe there are broad areas we must address if the City is to attract the talent it deserves. Firstly, we must act to restore trust in the City and secondly we must improve the quality of inclusion thus leading to improved diversity and the attraction of talent from all elements of society.
For many parts of the society, the professions are seen as a place only for the privileged.
Access and opportunities
As you may know, I am Chairman of the 13 strong Financial Services Group of Livery Companies. Last year I started the FSG Annual Lecture, which benefited a local children’s charity. This year I am proposing that the FSG Liveries form a permanent link with The Brokerage, a City based charity.
London, as you know, is the world’s top financial centre yet is also ranked highly in terms of deprivation with 2.3 million people living in poverty. It has the highest educational standards yet the highest levels of youth unemployment. One in five young Londoners is unemployed.
The Brokerage seeks to improve social mobility by connecting young Londoners with employers, to raise aspirations and specifically to create access and opportunities within the financial and professional services area improving diversity in the workplace.
From primary schools, secondary schools and undergraduates they’ve been successfully involved in engaging with over 1000 young people last year. Their impact measurement is excellent. Over 100 City firms are involved – with 51% of the participants being female and 93% from a BAME background.
They also run the City of London Business Traineeship Programme, provide apprenticeships and internships for school leavers and have an impressive record of placing students into paid work placements, graduate roles and school leaver programmes. One of their attendees at a primary school said: “Today I learned that banks do much more than just keep money safe”.
Providing support and attracting new talent to the City
Another area I support is the National Skills Academy for the Financial Services Industry. It will shortly be announced (and please for the moment in confidence) that I am to be appointed a Trustee of NSAFS.
The 19 National Skills Academies are employer-led organisations with a leading role in developing the infrastructure needed to deliver specialist skills for key sectors and sub-sectors of the economy formed under the Department of Business.
Specifically, the purpose of the Academy is to improve the provision of financial skills, improve employability and provide accreditation to training organisations with a view to improving the availability of talent to the industry.
I am also one of the six Elected members of the Livery Committee, which is the organisation which supervises the relationship between the Mayoralty, the Corporation and the 110 Livery Companies of the City.
One of the schemes that we are running is the Livery Apprenticeship Scheme which is an advisory body for not only Livery Companies but for all companies in the City on the best way to establish apprenticeships under the new legislation.
We also run the Livery Schools Link which establishes direct involvement with schools and companies. These are important ways in which City’s firms can provide support and indeed attract new talent.
One other area in which I think the City should be much more proactive is in the issue of post-education employment. I support London remaining open to attracting the best talent in the world and that certainly should begin by providing ease of access and streamlined entry to the UK for young talent.
It is shame when so many come here to complete their education that when their degree is completed it is so difficult for businesses in the City to benefit from the education investment that has been made.
I would like to work with the City to provide for any graduates of our Russell University Group to remain within the country with the same ease of access that has now been guaranteed to EU nationals but on an indefinite basis.
And finally, I would also like to work with and through the Cheapside Business Alliance to provide greater transparency of the internship opportunities that the businesses in the City are providing. This will allow many to see what is only currently known to the few.
A number of Livery Companies, of course, provide bursaries for post-graduate training and I want to encourage more. My own Livery Company has sponsored post-graduate places at London Business School, Cass Business School, Harvard, Judge Business School and Oxford Business School.