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Students have 'Big Conversation' about career choices

01/06/2010

More young people choose education and training to stay ahead in job market

Thanks to a successful work placement programme in the banking sector, two Leeds students have made some big decisions about their future careers.

Liam Pickersgill (16) and Natalie Wilson (17), both students at Brigshaw High School and Language College in Kippax, took part in Business in the Community’s Big Conversation with Yorkshire Bank in Leeds earlier this year. The programme gave them the unique opportunity to work in a variety of teams across the Bank and to meet with its Director and senior team to ask questions and give feedback.

A few months on, and with their AS Levels now complete, both youngsters have made the decision to pursue a career in banking, Liam in HR and Natalie within a branch. After school, the students would like to go straight to work within a banking setting and continue into further education alongside their work.

The news comes as the coalition Government announces that the proportion of young people in education and training has reached its highest ever level as a result of the recession. 82.7 per cent of 16 to 18 year olds are now looking to further develop their skills.

The Leeds-based students got a taste for the banking world when they took part in the Big Conversation, a programme supported by Business in the Community, which gives young people the chance to gain an insight into the workplace and then feed back to chief executives about the experience they have had. Yorkshire played host to the first regional Big Conversation, helping to bridge the gap between education and the workplace, and Yorkshire Bank offered places to two lucky Leeds students.

Liam said: "We had an exciting and busy week with Yorkshire Bank. We spent two and a half days at the head office on Merrion Way, learning about internal banking procedures and documentation as well as bank security. For the rest of the week, we worked at a branch in Seacroft, observing customer interviews and bank cashiers. We were also able to spend time with senior managers at the bank, discussing career paths and opportunities within the banking sector, before having the opportunity to give our comments to these people at a special event at Leeds Metropolitan University."

Jacqui Atkinson, community affairs manager at Yorkshire Bank said: "We had a really positive response from the students following their time with the Bank. They really got a taste of what goes on behind the scenes, and made a great impression with the employees they worked with. I wish them both every success in their future careers."

Natalie added: "Liam and I both really enjoyed our time with Yorkshire Bank and it gave us the insight that we needed to make decisions about our future. Given the jobs market at the moment, it's more important than ever to be making sure that we have training and skills that give us an edge for employers. I'm delighted that we had this work placement opportunity that will hopefully put us ahead of other candidates out there. It's definitely confirmed my choice to work in the banking sector in the future."

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