Teenagers from across the West Midlands have had a unique opportunity to sample the world of work thanks to Solihull-based consumer finance provider BNP Paribas Personal Finance.
The pupils, aged 14-16, came from a range of pupil referral units across the region and visited the company’s town centre HQ over two sessions. Schools involved are part of the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme and included The Edge Academy, Birmingham and both Swanswell and The Link Extended Learning Centres in Coventry.
All the youngsters were given a unique opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the company’s CEO Stephen Hunt. That was followed by separate sessions which were designed to showcase some key skills they’ll need to help them gain employment, before giving them the opportunity to meet young employees who talked through the benefits of apprenticeships.
There was also the opportunity for the students to reflect on their own skills and career ambitions, before speaking to members of the BNP Paribas Personal Finance team about how they could use these abilities to develop careers in a range of sectors and workplaces.
The sessions were delivered as part of the Dallaglio RugbyWorks initiative, which uses a mixture of rugby and educational training to deliver skills and behavioural changes to children who have fallen out of mainstream education.
Exposing young people to the opportunities of work is proven to enhance their future prospects. Dr Anthony Mann’s influential study for the Education and Employers Taskforce demonstrates that those who recall at least four work-related talks or experiences as 14 to 19 year olds are five times less likely to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and earn, on average, 16% more than their peers.
Gareth Shuttleworth, a coach on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme, said: “Many of the pupils on the programme put up their own mental barriers and don’t believe they can go out there and achieve in the workplace.
“Days like today open their eyes to the world of work and make them realise what is possible. It shows them what they can do with some drive and ambition.”
Stephen Hunt, CEO of BNP Paribas Personal Finance, said: “It was pleasure to welcome so many young people to our head office in Solihull as part of the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme.
“Personally, I think days like today can be incredibly powerful in helping young people get an insight into a variety of careers and to inspire them to have a goal. They related well to our apprentices and had some fun engaging with our friendly team in some interactive activities. We’re now seeking other influential employers in the region to lend their support by giving a Career Taster Day to young people on the Dallaglio RugbyWorks programme.”
BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK is in the first of a three-year partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks, during which the programme is looking to expand throughout the West Midlands. For more information on Dallaglio RugbyWorks please click here.