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Welcome to my latest blog; this week we have asked Jason Hesse, a guest of the Social Mobility Foundation event to write about his day at One Great George Street.

I was fortunate to attend an event celebrating the launch of a new programme from the Social Mobility Foundation at One Great George Street last week. As a freelance journalist, I get invited to attend quite a few events every week, but the programme involved, City Talent Initiative stood out as a particularly interesting cause.

City Talent Initiative is a new programme run by the Social Mobility Foundation in collaboration with Ernst & Young, J.P. Morgan, RBS and Strutt & Parker to support high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds to gain access to leading City firms.

The idea for the City Talent Initiative started with a challenge from Rt Hon David Lammy MP, who questioned how to overcome the barriers to entry for talented young people who do not have access to jobs in London’s City.

With little “social capital” – such as access to opportunities through connected friends and family – many of the best and brightest miss out on working in one of the best places in the world to do business, the City of London.

In other words, the opportunity to work in some of the world’s most-dynamic companies lies beyond the reach of too many young people.

The City Talent Initiative hopes to change this, matching applicants with a City mentor and summer internship. Through skills sessions and real insight into the professional world, young people’s opportunities can be transformed.

“When it comes to securing a job in a top City firm, social capital matters,” says Baroness Kramer, one of the programme’s supporters. “By working directly with companies and schools, this scheme will help provide individuals with that initial link to an internship of job that many young people find hard to access.”

OGGS was fortunate to host the City Talent Initiative launch last month, which brought together 60 high-fliers and young people over breakfast networking session. Indeed, the early-morning attendees were welcomed with bacon and sausage sarnies, warm croissants and fresh fruit in the wood-paneled Council room.

Social Mobility Foundation Mark Field MP, Baroness Kramer and Sir Victor Blank
Mark Field MP, Baroness Kramer and Sir Victor Blank 

Rt Hon David Lammy MP himself attended the launch and gave a keynote address about the programme. He praised the cross-party political support that the City Talent Initiative has attracted (in addition to himself and Baroness Kramer, Mark Field MP is also a supporter).

As well as launching the programme, David Johnston from the Social Mobility Foundation, praised OGGS for being such a “great venue” which, being just a stone’s throw away from the Houses of Parliament, made it easier for high-profile speakers such as Mr Lammy to attend.

Following the launch at OGGS, the future of the City Talent Initiative looks bright. For young people interested in accountancy, banking and finance or business, the programme will help to open doors in the City; while for City firms, the programme will help them attract a wide-range of bright graduates and interns.

The City Talent Initiative will not only support students this year through internships, skills sessions, mentoring and university advice, but also with repeated internships every year through education and university trips and workshops.

You can find out more about the programme – and how to get involved – on the Social Mobility Foundation’s website.

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