Diversity initiative Leading London announces inaugural winners

Leading London, the new diversity initiative launched by recruitment consultancy FreshMinds Talent and London First, this week announced the inaugural winning candidates of the successful pilot scheme held at London Metropolitan University.

Leading London, designed to introduce a diverse range of high-flying students from London’s universities to leading graduate employers, selected 42 final year undergraduates with outstanding business potential from more than 1,000 nominees for the scheme.

The winners, initially identified through a peer and tutor nomination survey, have gone through a rigorous screening and interview process and will now get the chance to meet the scheme’s corporate sponsors Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group and BT.

The winning candidates will also receive CV advice and interview coaching from FreshMinds Talent.

The 42 winners represent over 20 different countries and include 24 women.

Some examples of the extraordinary calibre and background of these students include Ahmed, an Accounting and Investment student who initially moved to the UK as an asylum speaker aged 16 and has since been awarded “Young Citizen of the Year” by Manchester City Council. Ahmed was nominated over 100 times by his fellow students on campus.

Another impressive winner, Jessica from south east London, has already founded her first business – a dance school called J’s Dance Factory for local children and teenagers.

Present at the award ceremony on Monday night was Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, alumnus of London Metropolitan University, and an active stakeholder in education in the capital in his role as Chancellor of Thames Valley University.

Lord Bilimoria addressed the winners, encouraging them to pursue their ambitions and to remain inspired to achieve. Also speaking to the winning students was Baroness Jo Valentine, CEO of London First, and James Callander, Managing Director of FreshMinds Talent.

James Callander commented:

“We launched Leading London with the hope of proving that the top undergraduates at some of the capital’s less well represented universities could meet our exacting benchmarks for academics, business acumen and drive. The winners represent the cultural, educational and ethnic diversity of the city of London, and over the next few months and years FreshMinds Talent hopes to help them take the first steps towards becoming the future leaders of business in the capital.”

Henry, one of the winners of the scheme who has been working three part-time jobs while studying at London Metropolitan, said: “I cannot express how overjoyed I am at the opportunity Leading London has presented to me. Winning the scheme serves as evidence to back up my achievements at university, both academically and in extracurricular activities.”

The Leading London scheme was piloted at London Metropolitan University in January.

The scheme gives students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make an impression on some of the UK’s leading employers, as well as providing them with a network of like-minded and ambitious peers.

Following the successful pilot, the scheme will now be rolled-out in other post-1992 universities across London in 2010.

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