The Brokerage Citylink is celebrating – and for a year ahead - thanks to receipt of substantial funding from Canary Wharf based US investment bank State Street.
The funding, worth over £42,511 ($64,170) is a great expression of support from State Street for our social mobility programmes and recognises the value that State Street places on our relationship. It enables us to build on the success of our existing youth mentoring programme we offer in partnership with State Street – Continuum – which has been running since 2012. In addition, the funding will greatly support the development of new initiatives at the charity.
Alison Quirk, Executive Vice President at State Street Corporation and responsible for Global Human Resources and Corporate Citizenship, presented the cheque to Bridget Gardiner, Executive Director at The Brokerage at a lunch event arranged at State Street. Eight State Street staff who came through the Brokerage ‘pathway’ of opportunity in the City, including the two mentoring programmes, attended and are a testament to the success of the partnership.
State Street’s relationship with The Brokerage was established in 2011, and has developed to become one of our most dynamic partnerships in the banking sector. Hearing about The Brokerage’s work with other employers to meet diversity, social responsibility and recruitment needs, State Street worked closely with us to develop a programme which would meet the needs of their investment focus criteria and social impact framework, while also providing high-impact employee volunteering opportunities for staff members.
With these objectives in mind, the two programmes, Momentum - targeted at young women about to start their second year at university in partnership with Citibank, and Continuum - targeted at young men and women in their second or third year at university, were developed. The Brokerage matches around 40 university students from London with State Street executives who meet weekly with the students to help them gain key professional skills necessary to thrive in the workplace by sharing advice, information and support.
Both programmes focus on developing key professional skills of young people from disadvantaged groups during their student years to help them secure employment in the future and compete in the job market, while also engaging staff working at the bank. The staff time dedicated by mentors to their mentees since 2012 is over 1,500 hours, highlighting the commitment from the bank around community and social engagement, on top of their substantial financial commitment.
Overall, the Continuum programme enables a wider cross-section of staff to participate in volunteering opportunities during work time while increasing inclusivity and diversity at the bank.
Thanks to the success of these mentor-mentee relationships, eight mentees have gone on to gain employment with State Street - not a central objective of the programme but a hugely positive and unanticipated outcome. These Brokerage alumni led by Nusrath Hussein have developed their own internal network – NextGen Network – within State Street to encourage more social mobility opportunities within the bank, including recruitment to internships and placements, as well as schools workshops and outreach.
State Street’s funding will also be used to help us measure the social impact of this and other programmes we run; influence policy amongst key decision makers in London and Westminster in the areas of social mobility, diversity, employability and equality of opportunity and raise our profile in the media. We will also use it to identify more fundraising opportunities, with a view to reaching more young people and delivering more programmes to raise aspirations and create diversity.
Bridget Gardiner says: “We can’t wait to work with State Street again this summer and with the fourth year of summer mentees coming through the programme. We wish them all success, and hope that they grasp this unique opportunity with both hands.”
Case study - Nusrath Hussain
Nusrath attended Mulberry School, a girls’ school in Tower Hamlets where 54% of students are eligible for free school meals and 92% have English as a second language. She had heard of The Brokerage through her school.
While studying chemistry at university, she participated in the State Street Mentoring Scheme in 2013, mentored by Natalie Waller, Head of Global Equity Beta Solutions.
Speaking about how the programme benefitted her, Nusrath said, “The most valuable thing I gained from the programme was confidence. I think my mentor saw my potential, she gave me inside knowledge and an understanding of the real experience of work.
“Our meetings included sessions on goal setting, networking, writing and giving presentations and building relationships with more senior professionals – practical skills which are beneficial in all workplaces.”
Nusrath gained an internship at State Street after winning the “Business Presentation Challenge”, a competitive element of each mentoring scheme. Starting her internship straight after graduating, she was offered several extensions and, ultimately, a permanent contract. She is now an ETF Product Specialist, and co-chairs the NextGen employee network.
Sharon Auger, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Citizenship at State Street and the driving force behind the programmes, “The mentoring programme has really challenged staff preconceptions about young people, and for the company as a whole has raised awareness of talent we might not usually have engaged with, making us think about how we recruit our staff.
“The programme has made us aware of how brilliant these young people are, and how all they need to succeed is a foot in the door.”