Anisa Khalique, 13 from Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, has been named as the winner of the 2013 Student Presentation Skills Final supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in association with the education charity Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership (THEBP).
The event is part of a wider course of education and employability activities run by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and THEBP – the Financial Education and Employability Programme (FEE). Launched in 2005 and reaching more than 2,000 Tower Hamlets school children each year, the FEE Programme is designed to improve students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes to help them prepare for the workplace. It aims to address a critical concern for the UK economy – that thousands of young people in the country are growing up with little or no understanding of the skills required for a modern workplace, or how to develop their own financial well-being.
'The Financial Education and Employability Programme aims to provide young people with the skills they need to gain employment and to be successful in the workplace', said Andrea Sullivan, head of Corporate Responsibility for Europe and Emerging Markets (ex-Asia) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. 'We understand the power of connecting young people with opportunities that will help them develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes and prepare them for the world of work. When a workforce has the aspirations, skills and confidence to make the most of the opportunities that exist, we all share in that success'.
The final, now in its eighth year, was held at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s headquarters in London and included students from Bow School, Mulberry School for Girls, and Swanlea School in Tower Hamlets. The competition is one of 20 activities which form the FEE Programme. More than 2,000 of the company’s employees have volunteered in this programme since its inception in 2005.
Each finalist gave a speech drawn from key Bank of America Merrill Lynch priorities: valuing differences, supporting the community, strong leadership and acting as a good corporate citizen. The students were encouraged to show innovation in how they approached their chosen subject. They presented to a judging panel includingDiego De Giorgi, co-head of Global Corporate and Investment Banking, EMEA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch;Rob Wall, director of Education and Employment at the CBI; and Tracey Bleakley, CEO of the Personal Finance Education Group (pfeg).
Anisa impressed the audience with a passionate speech on leadership and what makes a good leader. She beat stiff competition from the eight other finalists, following a series of competitive heats and semi-finals at schools across Tower Hamlets. She received an iPad, vouchers and the winners’ trophy.
'I wanted to speak about being a good leader because it is personal to me', Anisa said. 'I am trying to learn myself how to be a good leader in school and while I was researching the presentation I realised that good leaders are all around me- from my friends and teachers to my parents. I wanted to give them all the recognition they deserve. Taking part in this programme has gone from nerve wracking to amazing. I can't believe I won! And I think now I have the confidence to say I have what it takes to be a leader myself'.
'Anisa was a deserving winner from a strong field of candidates, all of whom impressed us with their speeches on some of the current issues facing the financial world', said Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of pfeg. 'It is absolutely crucial that we give all young people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need in financial matters as they enter adult life. At a time when around one in four young Londoners are unemployed, the work of initiatives such as the Financial Education and Employability Programme in Tower Hamlets has never been more important'.
'Each year, the competition gets better and better. The development of strong presentation skills is a key differentiator for young people and our finalists have time and again shown how the skills they have gained have helped them access top universities and the world of work', said Ken McCarthy, programme director at THEBP.
About the Financial Education and Employability Programme
The Financial Education and Employability Programme was launched in 2005 in three Tower Hamlets secondary schools: Bow School, Mulberry School for Girls and Swanlea School. It is the first and largest of its kind and comprises a menu of activities delivered at the schools and at the bank’s offices. It is designed to improve students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes to help them prepare for the workplace and to raise the aspirations of those who take part.
Since the programme’s launch, all schools involved have significantly improved their GCSE grades: 115 percent (Swanlea); 90 percent (Mulberry) and 76 percent (Bow) in comparison to the national average increase of 27 percent. Swanlea students have gained 100 percent A*-C GCSE Business Studies for several years.
Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership
Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership is a charity that brokers business support to deliver a range of programmes to primary, secondary and special schools, academies, sixth form and FE colleges in the borough. These are designed to raise awareness of and prepare young people for the world of work.