From education to employment

Work experience leads to employment opportunities with Citibank

Over the last year major global investment bank, Citi, has accepted 15 unemployed graduates from Tower Hamlets College and Hackney Community College onto their specially developed work experience programme in the Operations divisions

The project involving these two London City-fringe colleges and the Securities & Investment Institute (SII) has proved so successful in placing staff for Citi that the bank has committed to the scheme for the next twelve months and possibly beyond.

As a result of this 4-week programme, there are two individuals in permanent posts and five individuals in temporary jobs in both front office and operations positions based at its Canary Wharf headquarters in London.

The course is aimed at individuals looking for a career in the financial services industry who want to understand the breadth of the industry, the regulatory foundation, how the industry works and the basics of the various financial instruments ““ shares, bonds, derivatives.

Both the European Social Fund (ESF) and the London Development Agency (LDA) provided the colleges with co-financing funding to run the Introduction to Investment course for unemployed individuals from Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney. The funding requirement involves target qualifications as well as work placement and employment. The LDA targets for this project included recruiting candidates from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and under-represented groups including women.

James Edgar, Senior HR Generalist at Citi said, “SII approached us regarding the Introduction to Investment course at the two colleges. We felt the project was right for us as it not only helps the community but gives us access to a different market of individuals. The course gives great work experience to the students and therefore it is a win-win for all those involved.”

Citi has been one of the first financial institutions to create a work experience programme, for a cohort of students of this size, from these colleges.

Ruth Martin, Managing Director of SII, said “The Colleges have given their students an excellent opportunity to work within the financial world and gain employment in this sector. It is often difficult for individuals to get into an organization such as Citi without relevant work experience, which is why this work experience programme is so unique. We are committed to working with local communities to develop access to financial services careers.”

Therese Reinheimer-Jones, Head of the Financial Skills Academy at Tower Hamlets College said, “Our relationship with Citi has given these unemployed graduates work experience, a valuable reference and permanent or temporary employment but also allowed us to benefit from working with a large corporate and remain up to date with the relevant skills and qualities that an international organisation requires from its graduates.

“This project has broken down some of the invisible barriers of working in the City. Although the City and the global financial services industry is on our doorstep, many of our students have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and would never have had the opportunity to work in the financial services sector. This partnership has provided them with the unique opportunity to realise their dreams and work in an international banking environment.”

Ian Ashman, Principal of Hackney Community College said, “We are delighted to be working with Citi, SII and Tower Hamlets College. This project is a great opportunity to learn from each other and to help open up the world of financial services to our students and the local population. We have already seen students getting valuable experience and even high-flying City jobs. We look forward to many further success stories.”

The SII is actively seeking to develop similar partnerships with other colleges and firms throughout the UK and has also developed a bespoke college scheme of this type for BNP Paribas.

Additional information can be found at

Chris Mitchell

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