Home Business NewsBusiness Mark Boleat: Want the best young talent? Paid internships could be the answer

Mark Boleat: Want the best young talent? Paid internships could be the answer

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29th Apr 14 3:52 pm

Talent doesn’t just reside in those with the best contacts, says the City of London Corporation’s policy chairman

Fresh ideas and new perspectives, as well as drive and dedication – these are all qualities that businesses look for in their employees.

These attributes can also be found in students from schools from beyond the Square Mile business district – all hungry to prove their worth and gain career experience.

Newly-released figures show insurance and banking firms in the City are leading the way when it comes to offering paid internships to students in London. This has increased by 1,150% and 74% respectively over the last five years and other sectors will soon follow suit.

City businesses have a responsibility – both to those living in the capital and to themselves – to empower the talent on their doorstep through paid internship schemes as well through other routes. This not only ensures that able students get good opportunities, but also brings credit to the firm in the eyes of its own employees and of the wider London community.

From an internal perspective, bringing in a trainee (who is paid) alongside members of staff can bolster the efforts of a team to get a job done and offer invaluable support at key times – offering a different view on tasks that could bring huge benefits.

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Esther Felton, General Counsel at insurance firm QBE European Operations, which was awarded ‘employer of the year’ through the City Business Traineeship scheme, is one employer who has seen the benefits that trainees from all walks of life bring to the table. Trainees help a business to thrive and gain respect from City peers.

An internship is the route that many high-achieving A-Level students and graduates take to get a foot in the door, meaning that these businesses have a high-calibre talent pool to choose from.

Law, consultancy and accountancy firms are all examples of areas which could also benefit from taking on more paid interns, helping students to experience all aspects of life in the City.

The City Business Traineeship scheme, funded by the City of London Corporation and delivered by the Brokerage, offers summer placements to the brightest state-school A-Level students in seven boroughs nearest the Square Mile business district around St Paul’s.  The scheme, part of the City of London Corporation’s ‘Working Together’ programme for Londoners, offers paid internships with more than 100 of the financial district’s biggest businesses, including the Bank of England and UBS – and now we need more businesses to sign up.

Bringing together a diverse team of staff can only drive the business forward, and a trainee’s willingness and eagerness to learn means they can meet a range of business needs.

In a competitive market where businesses all want to be seen as ‘doing their bit to help the future’, this is the perfect opportunity to set a good example.

To sign up your business to the City Business Traineeship Scheme, visit .

Mark Boleat is policy chairman at the City of London Corporation

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