Companies in the City of London – already an area of much competitive advantage and substantial resources – are stealing a march on colleagues by pre-empting the traditional ‘milk round’ and marketing themselves to school children. Once seen as the preserve of the Ministry of Defence, more and more organisations are realising the advantages of catching ‘em early.
Under the auspices of The City of London Business Traineeship scheme, bankers and brokers are offering local six-formers paid summer internships of up to 13 weeks. Initially developed to encourage state school students to consider City careers, the scheme has attracted the attention of recruiters, who know a cheap and easy option when they see one …
Candidates from schools and sixth form colleges in the City fringe boroughs are assessed on the basis of their GCSE grades, before undergoing an interview and workshop process. Successful candidates are then matched to participating City firms. According to Michael Snyder, chairman of the policy and resources committee of the City of London Corporation,
‘The City needs a constant stream of new working talent to maintain its position as a global centre of business excellence. Firms are aware that they need to tap into all methods of recruitment to ensure that they acquire the highest standard of graduates. This programme also provides a unique opportunity to City firms for their recruits to be brand ambassadors at university.’
Sean Taylor, director at UBS Investment Bank, says:
‘City fringe students are talented, they have a great outlook on life, and – most of all – they’re hungry to learn. This scheme reveals the high calibre of student on our doorstep. It adds to the diversity of our workforce and ultimately provides opportunities for increasing our talent pool.’
The scheme has been delivered by charity The Brokerage Citylink since 2000. The charity works in partnership with City employers to help residents from the Boroughs close to the City access jobs in the City, its fringes and Docklands.
While an admirable project, very few 16 year olds really know what they want to do with their lives. Schemes like this run the risk of pushing square pegs into round holes – and ensuring that big City pay packets keep them there. And why should the City benefit from the brightest and the best that London’s state schools have to offer? Wouldn’t society as a whole be better off if these bright young things became teachers? Or doctors or nurses? Do we really want to see another generation sell its soul for a fast buck?