Entrepreneurs in Action’s Classroom to Boardroom initiative connects students with businesses to tackle the underrepresentation of black talent in the investment industry.
Hammersmith Academy, alongside Lilian Baylis Technology School and Graveney School are taking part in the initiative, with students in Year 11-13 being central to the project. Students dial in directly with CEOs to discuss ways of increasing applications, opportunities and development of young black people in entry-level roles.
The participating organisations – Redington, Aon, Fidelity, Invesco, LCP, Lincoln Pensions, Mercer, Morgan Stanley, St James’ Place and Wellington – will share details on their current diversity initiatives and entry level strategies, alongside what they perceive as any barriers to bringing in young black talent.
Students are encouraged to question and challenge firms on company policies and strategy based on their own experiences and market research. At the end of the programme, students will present their findings and solutions to CEOs and other senior leaders from the participating companies, as well as representatives from the wider industry.
Gary Kynaston, Headteacher, Hammersmith Academy, said of the initiative, “I am delighted that our students have this opportunity to make a real difference to underrepresentation and be part of this very important dialogue. We cannot speak for them or about their personal experiences but I am pleased that leading companies are positively engaging with young black talent to make an honest difference.”
Gary Philips, Principal, Lilian Baylis Technology School, said, ‘This is a great project which has really built confidence and belief but must lead to our students getting career opportunities they are capable of.
Derek Browne, CEO, Entrepreneurs in Action – This project has provided students and schools with unique opportunity for students to not only learn about the investment industry, but develop ideas and solutions to the recruitment of black entry level talent. I was particularly proud of the way in which the pupils worked together as one team, from the three schools and with university students. They arrived on Friday as a team and delivered a presentation which challenged the most senior executives of the investment industry to think and act differently.
Year 12 student, Kairon (deputy team ceo) said, “I feel these businesses have really shown an interest in promoting more diversity and inclusion in the investment banking industry. The fact that these large businesses have chosen to take notice and set up this challenge for myself, and others, to participate and possibly make some form of change has really impressed me.”
Year 13 student, Jada added. “I’m impressed by how willing these businesses are to hire people from different backgrounds, and how much effort they are willing to go to make sure people are included and to have a more diverse workforce going forward. I’ve learnt that there are more jobs in this sector which isn’t just about numbers, such as HR and creatives.”