The breakfast forum aimed to offer an introduction to the City Business Traineeship programme to employers who are interested in taking part in the scheme, but who have not hosted placements previously. It was an opportunity to find out more about the technicalities of taking on interns from Year 13, including issues like which departments they might be placed in and what kind of projects they would work on.
The programme offers paid placements of 6-13 weeks to students who have completed their A levels and who are keen to pursue a career in the City. In 2013/14, The Brokerage placed 114 Year 13 students in banking, insurance, law, accountancy and other financial services firms. Of these, 91% of those participating have been from BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups), and 58% have been female.
Members of the panel have worked with us over many years to recruit interns for the programme: Jo Taylor, Corporate Social Responsibility manager at Société Générale; Jaspreet Dulay, Talent Acquisition manager at Beazley and Innes Ebert, Partner at DWF LLP.
Tweeting live from the forum, The Brokerage caught a lot of the panel’s discussion from employers and former interns and Brokerage alumni. See our Twitter feed for more details, https://twitter.com/the_brokerage, but we have captured the essence of the employers’ enthusiasm for the internship programme, the interns themselves and the vital support they receive from The Brokerage.
Jo from Société Générale commented that “At this age students are keen enthusiastic and open! There's no other work experience scheme where you'll see so much growth in an intern. That's what makes it rewarding".
Innes, from DWF LLP, said, “Work experience before university is vital for confidence building and helps to create a level playing field for when disadvantaged young people go to university and beyond.”
Jaz from Beazley said: “Intern responsibilities are down to individual teams, we see them as no different from regular staff. It is important that we don't treat interns any differently so they are invited to social events, training etc.”
Commenting on the input from The Brokerage, Jo from Société Générale said, "The Brokerage are key, we couldn't do it without them!", and Jas from Beazley added, “We know candidates from The Brokerage are going to be high calibre – which gives us confidence to set our standards high.”
Asked for advice on getting started as an employer on the City Business Traineeships Scheme, the panel said: “Getting senior level buy-in is vital, so starting small usually helps.” Commenting on the differences between school leaver interns and undergraduate interns, the employers said: “Socially, perhaps undergraduates are more confident, but ultimately, the level of work they produce of is the same standard.” A very encouraging and reassuring rationale for more City firms to get involved in the programme.
Stephanie Harb undertook an eight week internship at Société Générale in 2011. After university and further summer placements back at Soc Gen, she is now a graduate trainee in their legal department. When asked what memories stood out from her placement, Stephanie said: “The people were so welcoming and really wanted me to succeed. That definitely made me want to go back and find out more, which I was lucky enough to do throughout university.” Commenting on what she learned from the placement she added: “I picked up so many small skills from working in a business environment that you can’t learn anywhere else. These were really valuable to me in terms of securing future placements and ultimately a graduate role back at SocGen.”
Discussing what happens after the traineeship, all the employers said that they hoped to continue relationships with successful interns, but they placed the onus on the intern themselves to keep in touch, apply for summer placements and network with people they had met. Société Générale now employs three alumni from the City Business Traineeship programme.
The Brokerage Citylink has been managing the programme on behalf of the City of London Corporation for the past 14 years, and to date has provided well over 1200 placements to students in Year 13 attending state schools in the ‘City fringe’ boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Islington, Camden, Westminster, Southwark and Lambeth.
With our vast experience of working with both schools and financial companies, we are well placed to identify and access the best talent from the city fringe boroughs, meeting our ambition of improving social mobility by raising aspirations and creating diversity in the City.