Introducing… Speakers for Schools
As part of our work to promote equality and diversity, this year at Sibos we’re partnering with Speakers for Schools, an educational charity which aims to bridge inequality by bringing together students from all backgrounds with leaders in business, academia and the arts.
Founded in 2011 by journalist Robert Peston, Speakers for Schools helps established influencers give their time to state schools, arranging assembly-style talks to inspire youngsters and ignite their ambition for the future. The charity is also supporting businesses to run high-impact short work experience programmes as part of S4SNextGen, ensuring state school students have access to the same prestigious opportunities as top fee-paying schools.
“Really interesting talk, it made me realise that if I work hard, I can be successful” – student attendee at a Speakers for Schools talk
“One of the roles of public institutions is to create so-called ‘public goods’, which are open to everyone and benefit everyone yet may sometimes be in too short supply,” says Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, who works with Speakers for Schools. “Equal access to good education and workplace opportunities are classic public goods, and Speakers for Schools creates these for young people who might not otherwise have access to them through its speaker programme in schools and, most recently, through its work experience programme.
“It has already opened minds, and hopefully a few doors, for thousands of school children, and as an institution serving the public, we are thrilled to have been a supporter of both those programmes from the get-go.”
“I am so inspired after that talk. I really want to pursue my dreams now” – student attendee at a Speakers for Schools talk
The talks run by Speakers for Schools help to motivate and encourage students, providing inspiration about what they can achieve in the future, and spark the confidence to pursue their goals. Baroness Wheatcroft, former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal in Europe and participant in the Speakers for Schools programme, explains, “It is a privilege to talk to audiences of lively, engaged, youngsters. Speakers for Schools is effective in ensuring that teachers and pupils are welcoming, and I suspect that I learn as much from going into the schools as the pupils learn from me.”
Following the success of the speaker programme, the new S4SNextGen work experience scheme is benefitting businesses and students. Connecting state school students with short work experience placements and insight days at well-known organisations across the country, such as Man Group and the Financial Reporting Council, the programme helps level the playing field, offering free support to schools, students and employers.
“Without the S4SNextGen scheme, I undoubtedly would not have been able to secure a placement on the insight day.” – S4SNextGen work experience student
To date, Speakers for Schools has reached over 600,000 young people through over 7,000 speaker and employer engagements. Andy Haldane adds, “More pupils need to be given the opportunity to make the most of their talents if we are to close the opportunity and achievement gaps across society, and more companies, public and private, large and small, stand to benefit from offering these opportunities to young people at a time when talent has never been more precious or more scarce.”
“Through our work with S4SNextGen, we are able to engage with students who may not otherwise have access to our industry; by giving them exposure to our business, we hope to be able to provide them with valuable insights that help them embark on the first steps of their future careers.” – Man Group
Support from Sibos and its community will help Speakers for Schools extend its programmes even further. Find out more about how your company can take part in the S4SNextGen work experience programme.