At the end of last year, we teamed up with Lawrence Dallaglio and his charity Dallaglio RugbyWorks to help support vulnerable young people across the West Midlands and get them into sustained education, employment or training.
Here, our CEO Stephen Hunt talks about his experience attending the first of three career taster days that we’ve held for students on the programme.
Last month our Solihull headquarters played host to the first in a series of Career Taster Days. These sessions, which encourage youngsters from challenging backgrounds to consider their future employment options, have been delivered as part of our work with the Dallaglio RugbyWorks initiative.
The first event saw us welcome students from pupil referral units in Coventry to our head office where they were able to get a taste of life in the workplace. I felt it was important that I went to meet some of them to find out a little bit more about their hopes and dreams, the challenges they face and what they plan to do as they start to think about their next steps once they finish school and college.
I spoke to each of them in great depth about what we do here at BNP Paribas Personal Finance and the key qualifications and employable skills necessary to work in such an environment. It was interesting to find out more about their goals and hopes for the future, with an exciting amount of variation in the kinds of careers they would like to pursue – I’m sure this is something they will work with their teachers and Dallaglio RugbyWorks coaches on over the coming months as part of their school education.
After a tour around our offices, the students got to meet a range of employees from a whole host of different departments and quiz them about their roles. Perhaps most valuably, they were able to speak to an apprentice working in our motor finance department who talked to them about career opportunities as someone fresh out of college and recalled his own personal career progression. Presenting the students with a real-life example of someone who has worked their way up the career ladder gave them a tangible goal to work towards.
At the beginning of the taster day, many of the students who joined us appeared to lack confidence and ambition which are key areas the coaches on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme focus on. Speaking to the students at the end of the session however, I noticed a marked change and many of them left with a clearer idea of the kind of career they would like to pursue in the future.
At BNP Paribas Personal Finance, we strongly believe in leading by example and now we want to encourage other businesses across the West Midlands to join us in offering Career Taster Days to students on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme.
A young person who has four or more meaningful encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) which proves just how important it is for business people from all different sectors to get involved in whatever way they can.
We’re all responsible for ensuring the next generation has the skills and experience to thrive, and we hope that by taking part in the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme businesses across the West Midlands can make a huge influence on the lives of youngsters who are otherwise in danger of falling between the cracks.
To find out more about how your business can get involved in the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme and help change lives by offering Career Taster Days to vulnerable young people across the West Midlands, contact us today.