Students from low-income backgrounds have been given a glimpse into the life of a Canary Wharf city trader as part of a programme aiming to help disadvantaged young people into employment.
Statistics show that pupils from low-income homes are almost twice as likely to not be in education, employment or training post-16, compared to their more affluent peers.
So Citibank has teamed up with education charity Teach First in a bid to help these young people into the world of work through its e for Education campaign.
To mark this year’s campaign the Canary Wharf-based bank invited students from London schools into its offices on January 27, for a behind-the-scenes tour and to take part in simulated trading games - in the hope of inspiring and encouraging them into a career in the finance sector.
Speaking after the visit, Gunnersbury Catholic School year 13 pupil George Watts said: “The game we played was all about shares and commodities in different areas of finance that we would relate to.
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"For example, a share would be in a company such as Microsoft, or Barclays and you have to interpret the news in a way to relate that to how prices are going to change.
“If there is a change in oil prices you have to react and buy and sell shares.”
Also following the event, Jeremy Stuart, a maths and economics teacher at Forest Academy and Teach First ambassador, said: “What I want (students) to take away from the event is to build their aspirations.
"Bringing them to an impressive building like Citi’s, with the city of London skyline behind us, it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to see where they can take their lives.”
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Educational inequality starts early, before a child even starts school, according to Teach First.
In the UK, the street you grow up on can determine your whole future and many children from the poorest communities fall behind before they even start primary school.
Figures show a one year gap in “school readiness” between 3-year-olds, and an 11 month gap in vocabulary development between 5-year-olds, in the richest and poorest families.
At GCSE level, nearly 50% of children claiming free school meals achieve no passes above a D grade. Then over a lifetime, a graduate from a Russell Group university will earn on average £371,000 more than someone who left school with fewer than five good GCSEs.
Citi’s e for Education campaign is an annual initiative that aims to bring an end to inequality inside and outside the classroom and this year supports two UK charities — Teach First and SkillForce.
Previous e for Education campaigns have raised more than £550,000 for Teach First and last year funds raised by the campaign supported the costs of recruiting, training and supporting 125 teachers, who this year will be reaching more than 18,000 pupils in their classrooms.