FUTURE financial wizards from a Darlington school were given the chance to demonstrate their skills to an industry expert from the Bank of England when its Chief Economist Andy Haldane paid a visit to Hummersknott Academy.
The Year 10 pupils presented their ideas for a financial services app, designed to be of use by people they know.
Part of a joint Foundation for Jobs/Nationwide Building Society enterprise project, the challenge tested a number of skills including team work, developing ideas, presentation skills and marketing.
Alongside listening to the presentations, Mr Haldane met students from the Academy’s Year 11 and BTEC Business Studies classes to answer their questions about the economy.
Caroline Tindale, careers lead at Hummersknott Academy, said: “Our pupils have had a fantastic time presenting to such a prestigious guest and having the chance to meet and chat through their ideas and learn from him.
“This challenge has offered them the chance to learn new skills which we hope will equip them for the world of work and, through meeting Andy, inspire them to realise their dreams and believe that they can go on to achieve great things in their chosen careers.”
Named by Times Magazine in 2014 as among the top 100 most influential people in the world, Andy was educated near Leeds and has worked for the Bank of England since 1989.
He is a published author and is also involved in charitable work which aims to persuade economists to donate their time and expertise to help charities. He is also a trustee of the independent charity National Numeracy.
Mr Haldane praised the presentations delivered by the young people at the school.
He said: “There was an energy of purpose there from the young people speaking, who presented such good work.
“Young people today are probably looking at a 60 year career during which time they may be changing job and career three or four times. I think understanding of the economy and finance is absolutely essential for the everyday decisions they will make about jobs, how much to save, how much to borrow.
“The Bank of England is starting a big push this year to get into at least 200 schools across the UK. We are trying to make economics and finance something that doesn’t feel remote but part of the practicality of making those everyday decisions.”
Supported by a number of local businesses and organisations, Foundation for Jobs is part of the One Darlington partnership and aims to give young people a better chance of finding work by developing more effective links between schools, colleges and universities.
It also encourages employers to help young people improve their understating of the world of work. Since its launch in xx, more than 1,000 young people have been helped into work or training.
Councillor Chris McEwan, chairman of Foundation for Jobs said: “This is a fantastic example of how young people can benefit from industry expertise and where better to start than at the top level of the Bank of England.
“To have someone of such calibre giving their time to help local students is an honour and we thank Andy wholeheartedly for his help with this project.”
James Cartwright, Darlington branch manager at Nationwide Building Society, added: “We believe that enterprise and financial awareness should be encouraged from an early age.
“The pupils involved in this challenge will no doubt remember and use the skills they have learned through this but, more so, they will have enjoyed a privileged experience of presenting their ideas to one of our industry’s top experts.”