This article is more than 5 years old

Helping people get jobs and manage money

Ian Robinson of HSBC discusses the employability and wellbeing of students in the UK.
This article is more than 5 years old

Ian Robinson is Director, Public Sector & Education at HSBC

HSBC’s higher education team works across the UK, supporting the education sector and students. The focus is on helping graduates get jobs and to develop the skills needed to succeed in a global economy.

Graduating students face new and daunting challenges when entering the world of employment; debt, writing CVs, and facing interviews, all while studying and completing final university exams.

HSBC works with a range of charities such as The Prince’s Trust, School 21, and the Tall Ships Youth Trust to support young people in readying themselves for the next stages of education, apprenticeships or the workplace. We have a proud record of supporting the communities and environments in which we operate, with charitable giving by our European business totalling £15.3m last year. This investment focuses on financial education and wellbeing, as well as CV writing, entrepreneurship, and developing employability skills for the workplace.

Students are at the heart of our education and development strategy. With the right support and training they can contribute to local communities while learning valuable skills in the process. Fostering their entrepreneurial skills can help unleash their talents, creativity, and energy – so each of them brings something different to the table.

Supporting employability

Employability is a contentious topic and opinions are often divided according to where you sit: employer, graduate or educator. To HSBC it’s about helping people develop a set of achievements, knowledge and attributes that make them more able to gain meaningful employment and to be successful in their chosen career.

At HSBC we have created various programmes across the bank, developed content and fostered partnerships that all support employability and the skills agenda.

A key part of this is developing opportunities for women in the banking sector and business as a whole. In partnership with Newcastle University, supporting their Business in Action week, we worked with students on business case studies learn about assessing commercial situations and managing risks. It provides insights into understanding the decision making processes required in the workplace.

We also partner with Coventry University to run an annual campus crash challenge which allows students to show off their entrepreneurial skills through Dragons’ Den-style pitching to senior leaders from HSBC.

Our Grow Your Future competition brings together students from around the UK to pitch their ideas that have the potential to flourish into businesses of the future and a chance to win £1,000.

Brum Youth Trends captures the thoughts and opinions of 11-26 year olds in Birmingham through surveys, focus groups and internal research, producing a report with authentic insights into what young people think, want and need.

This year, our Emerging Talent Team is piloting a new initiative of employability modules, created with the help of universities and designed to help students prepare for the world of work. The modules encourage self-reflection and give practical advice on developing a personal brand and commercial awareness.

Supporting financial capability

Knowing how to manage money effectively is important to our professional and personal lives. It’s about having the right skills, attitudes and tools.

We run financial wellbeing programmes in schools and universities, including interactive seminars looking at topics such as how a bank account works, budgeting, understanding credit, and keeping finances safe. Students can also take our financial “health check” which includes the opportunity to ask questions and seek guidance in a confidential environment on all aspects of their financial situation.

Our partnership with UCAS ensures that we develop services to students that are relevant and are supported by financial education, to help young people make their money go further and make informed financial decisions.

We also regularly share our globally-informed insights and expertise – on everything from responsible investing to cyber security – with sector bodies such as Universities UK, the British Universities Financial Directors Group (BUFDG), the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), university members of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the Office for Students (OfS).

Practising what we preach

Of course, as a major employer across the UK we also hire and develop a diverse range of people at different career stages – including dedicated work-experience, internship, apprentice, and graduate programmes – covering our retail, commercial, and global banking areas.

We have a business network that spans the globe and we are committed to staff developing cultural fluency through a range of international experiences so we better understand and represent our hugely diverse customer base across the world.

Supporting clients and students in the global economy is vital. The HSBC Living Business Programme helps SMEs become more competitive and productive by incorporating socially and environmentally sustainable best practices into their business operations.

As a firm, HSBC is dedicated to our support of the UK higher education sector and we’re proud to continue that, not just through leading financial services, but also by supporting sector events such as the Guardian University Awards, NCUB, the Times Higher Education Global Summit Series and (of course) Wonkfest. I’ll look forward to seeing many of you there.

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