London Stock Exchange Group welcomes the launch of CASP (Catalyst After School Program)

The City of London Corporation, #Talkaboutblack and Diversity Project opened London’s markets for trading today, celebrating the launch of CASP (Catalyst After School Program). The pilot after-school program for socio-economically disadvantaged pupils was created in collaboration by The City of London Corporation, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) and the Diversity Project. 

The Catalyst After School Program (CASP) is an education and training program designed to equip pupils with hard skills and fusion skills, while also introducing them to asset management in order to build their aspiration to develop a career in the industry. A key outcome of the program is for students to earn a CISI Foundations of Financial Services qualification. #Talkaboutblack hope that the scheme will help develop a pipeline of diverse talent in the asset management industry.

The pilot, which is free for participating schools, starts on 12 November and will initially run for eight months. The programme will be taught by CISI with members from the asset management industry performing the role of teaching assistants. The first cohort of between 20 and 25 pupils from year 10 have been selected from two schools from the London Borough of Hackney.

Following the pilot, should the initiative be successful, #Talkaboutblack, intends to scale the program across the UK, with this year’s alumni becoming mentors to next year’s cohort. The program’s impact will be measured through increased engagement, students opting to stay in further education and entry into the asset management industry.

The program is one of a number of initiatives from #Talkaboutblack that aims to tackle the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in asset management. 

Taking part in the Market Open ceremony were Rt Hon Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell; Gavin Lewis, Managing Director, BlackRock and Co-founder of #Talkaboutblack; Andrien Meyers, Honorary Diplomat and Common Councilman, The City of London Corporation; and Diane Côté, Chief Risk Officer, London Stock Exchange Group.

Gavin Lewis, Managing Director at BlackRock and Co-founder of #TAB commented
"I grew up in inner City London and never knew the City existed, I certainly could not envisage myself working there. I was fortunate enough to find a way in but there is huge potential which remains untapped.  

It is imperative that we build of pipeline of talent to enter the asset management industry.  There has been a significant improvement in the initiatives focused on socio-economically disadvantaged graduates, but this needs to be coupled with outreach programs to secondary schools.
If we can provide students with the aspiration and the belief that they can develop a career, then we have an opportunity to create lasting change.

I’m incredibly excited to be working alongside the schools, the City of London Corporation, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and the Asset Management industry in this important initiative."

Andrien Meyers, Honorary Diplomat and Common Councilman added
“As we look across society, we can see a great lack of ethnic diversity in the investment industry. This situation creates huge hurdles for people from BAME backgrounds. The City Corporation, through the Diversity Project, #TAB and the CISI want to champion more inclusivity within the investment and savings industry. There are many bright and talented young people from across society who are hungry for the opportunity to progress and do well. 

I strongly believe that as a community we must do more to ensure they receive the guidance, support and – most importantly – the opportunity to find a career that they are passionate about. And the Catalyst After School Program is one way of helping young adults into the investment profession and we are proud to launch this during Black History Month.”

About #Talkaboutblack
#Talkaboutblack was founded in 2018 when a group of senior Black asset management professionals were invited to lead the ethnicity workstream of the Diversity Project. Our purpose is to build a pipeline of cross-industry Black leaders. We utilise a combination of mentoring, education, thought leadership and public speaking to increase the opportunities for Black people and industry professionals and challenge the structures that inhibit progression.

About the Diversity Project 
In early 2016, a group of leaders in the investment and savings profession decided to take action to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture within our industry. We recognise that future success – for our clients, members, employers and shareholders – requires an inclusive culture.
The purpose of the Diversity Project is to accelerate progress towards an inclusive culture in the investment profession. An inclusive culture across all levels supports more effective teamwork, gives wider perspectives, better investment decisions, better results for our clients and ultimately more sustainable businesses.  The Project spans the whole range of the profession: asset owners, fund managers, fund selectors, pension consultants, actuaries, trustees, wealth managers and the professional standards and trade bodies.

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