In March 2012 Future First will be delivering a series of Insight Days for Citi attracting Year 12 students from its network of over 50 state schools across London to experience ‘a day in the life of’ a new graduate employee and learn what skills they need to develop to pursue a career at the bank.
The aim of the programme is to enable Citi to reach a wider and more diverse audience of young people from state schools across London and encourage them to consider a career in investment banking.
‘We want to meet students from the broadest possible pool’ explains Gemma Lines, Head of Graduate Marketing, Recruitment and Development (EMEA) at Citi, ‘...and this includes pupils from state schools and disadvantaged backgrounds who do not have the kind of access to financial services networks that their peers from fee-paying schools do. We are particularly interested in hearing from girls too – hiring more women is a key focus for our bank and it starts at the junior level.’’
Indeed, this opportunity is not just for any student. The bar is being set high and students will need to demonstrate exceptional academic performance with predominantly A grade predictions in their A levels. But even with such high entry criteria, the take up of places has been high and Future First has been absolutely delighted with the enthusiastic response from teachers and students alike, as this one example shows from a student at Kingsmead school, Enfield:
‘I cannot wait for the event to happen! This is undoubtedly a great opportunity for me to meet professionals in the sector and I hope to be able to ask them a lot of questions on how they, themselves, achieved the position they are at now. I'm also looking forward to the advice that will be given to me and that 'extra mile' that I can go to expand my knowledge and experience.’
To ensure only the most motivated students apply, Future First is providing a full screening service, which involves liaising with teachers to identify and shortlist talented students that meet Citi’s specific eligibility criteria, who each receive a phone call from Future First. Students are asked to express what they consider their strengths to be, and how they stand out from the crowd, as well as what attracts them to a career in banking and what they hope to learn.
Citi recognises the benefits of attracting students whilst they are still at school and maintaining a relationship with them during their University years. Students offered internships and work placements during holiday periods will be able to build their employability skills and competencies to feel confident, prepared and qualified to apply for vacancies at Citi when they graduate.
This approach is supported by research published in February 2012 by the Education and Employers Taskforce which shows a significant link between young people's experience of the world of work whilst still at school and the chances of them becoming 'NEET' (not in education, employment or training) as young adults. It reveals that 26.1% of young people who had not had any contact with employers whilst at school went on to become 'NEET'. This reduced significantly to 4.3% for those who had taken part in activities involving employers (eg. career insight events and work experience).
‘Future First provides a fantastic and worthwhile service to students and organisations like us,’ explains Gemma Lines when referring to why Citi decided to partner with Future First.
Future First applauds Citi’s commitment to diversity and its exemplary status as a signatory of the government’s Business Compact which asks employers to be more inclusive to people from all walks of life, regardless of their background, where they were born, what school they go to or their parent’s wages.
There are still a few spaces left to attend the Citi Insight Days and students are invited to watch a short video which provides a snapshot of what to expect from working at Citi.
Nynke Brett is Head of Corporate Partnerships at Future First.
Future First works with employers who recognise their role in supporting the Government’s social mobility strategy to make society fair and ensure everyone has equal opportunities.
Future First supports employers to attract exceptional young people for Apprenticeship and school leaver programmes, providing a full service of early identification, short listing and screening of a talent pipeline from its expansive network of state schools. Future First also designs and delivers employee engagement programmes for major firms, connecting staff with inspiring volunteering opportunities to support young people with their career development. Its partners include Google, PwC, Osborne Clarke, Taylor Wessing, and Rothschild.