Children from one of Britain’s poorest areas are improving their prospects of finding work thanks to a partnership between investment bank Rothschild and schools in deprived East London schools.
Good for society
- 100% of reading partner pupils progressed one national curriculum level on completion of the programme.
- 100% of year 10 students achieved better GCSE grades than was predicted of them, and outperformed their non-mentored peers by one grade.
Good for business
- Rothschild’s HR team indicates that graduates mention their attraction to the company’s community initiatives during the recruitment process.
- The banks' clients report that Rothschild’s education programmes confirm its reputation for integrity and philanthropic interests.
Support for schools and young people forms the backbone of Rothschild’s community programme. The investment bank’s long-term partnerships aim to develop the confidence and aspirations of young people, and equip them with the skills and knowledge required to make informed decisions about their futures.
This is done primarily through mentoring, work experience, reading support and employability day programmes.
Top Tips from Rothschild:
Make sure you have senior support for the project from the start to ensure it doesn’t slip down the list of priorities.
Work collaboratively with the schools or colleges you are partnering with. Remember they have lots of expertise.
Be clear about how you will measure the project and evaluate its success beforehand.
In addition, Rothschild supports partner schools on a strategic level through its partners in leadership programme, where employees coach teachers in management positions, as well as through provision of effective school governors.
The bank found that many young people found it hard to move into employment after school because:
They lacked awareness of career options,
Had mismatched their aspirations with available choices,
Had limited parental support or limited reading abilities, especially for children of non-English-speaking parents.
Since the programme's launch, all pupils have progressed at least one national curriculum level. They also all out-performed their predicted GCSE grades.
Why they did it
Rothschild is a small international investment and private bank. Active support of local community has always been close to the heart of Rothschild; NM Rothschild and his descendants helped to provide social housing, hospitals, educational resources and advice to the immigrant communities of East London, always in response to needs identified by those communities. ‘Take local advice’ was their maxim.
The partnership with the East London schools is part of the bank’s ‘Investing in Young People’s Futures’ strategy by which it hopes to contribute to the development of students from economically deprived backgrounds so they are prepared for their future lives. To achieve this Rothschild has established long-term close working partnerships with local schools.
Finance and governance
This financial year, Rothschild invested £34,000 schools and education programmes. The Bank and its staff also volunteered 1,000 hours to support education programmes.
Along project’s progress is monitored by a board comprising of senior bankers from various divisions of the business and is chaired by a Managing Director and Partner. The committee oversees Rothschild’s activities in the community on behalf of all its stakeholders, and reports to the Board annually.
The Community Champion network comprises of representatives from all divisions in the Bank who act as programme managers with community partners to make sure the programmes run smoothly.
Giving everyone their say
Communicating via special events or the intranet, Rothschild engages with its staff from senior executives to rank and file of the organisation. Even while planning the strategy, all staff were surveyed for their views and focus groups were set up.
Bank employees, from managing directors to the ‘shop floor’, can get involved in an variety of volunteering opportunities.
Since 2014, Rothschild has extended the programme to its interns. The interns reported that it helped build their network within the Bank and raised their profile with senior staff members.
What Rothschild's CEO said:
“We seek to invest in long term partnerships with local schools and community organisations in disadvantaged areas close to our offices in ways which have a measurable impact on the lives of others. We create opportunities for young people to become socially mobile, broadening their horizons and equipping them with the skills they need to make informed decisions about further education and beyond, so they’re able to succeed in a competitive market on an equal playing field. We believe that our community programme has helped with our new hire recruitment and staff retention, and has added value to client relationships.” - Nigel Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, Rothschild