The Financial Services Unified Schools Programme was established to “encourage and inspire school pupils to consider and explore the career opportunities offered by financial services”, according to Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), a representative body for Scotland’s financial services industry.
The programme is run in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
The long-term aim is to support up to 5,000 young people through the programme right across Scotland on an annual basis.
Graeme Jones, chief executive of the SFE said the programme, “has been designed with great care to provide a first-hand experience of working in financial services and demonstrate the range of world-class career opportunities available on the pupils’ doorsteps”.
“As the landscape of financial services evolves rapidly, we need a step change in the diversity of our workforce to ensure we connect with the needs of customers.
“Our ambition is to inspire school pupils from all corners of Scotland, and all backgrounds, to help us innovate and improve the financial well-being of society.”
The scheme was piloted in Edinburgh in November 2018, several months before the launch. It hopes to expand into Glasgow.
The pilot saw six pupils (three from Newbattle High School and three from Queensferry Community High School) partner with six financial services firms based in Edinburgh: Baillie Gifford, BlackRock, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nucleus Financial and Standard Life Aberdeen.
The first two days were spent in the offices of the companies.
On the third and final day, the pupils worked with a film crew from Edinburgh College and information technology consultancy Sopra Steria to create a short video of their experience.
Although in the early stages of planning, it is hoped the programme will more than double the number of participants next year.
Shift the dial
Colin Halpin, SFE board director, Unified Schools project lead and HSBC director, said: “This programme has not only created a unique experience for the six young people who took part but it has showcased the power of collaboration.
“By working closely with a range of stakeholders across industry, government and education the SFE Financial Services Unified Schools Programme has begun to shift the dial on the perception of financial services by young people.
“With half of the pilot group now considering a career in financial services, compared with none at the beginning, this offers a strong test case to explore what can be achieved on a larger scale.
“If we can inspire more of Scotland’s school pupils to consider a job in financial services our industry, economy and wider society stands to benefit.”