An unusual Friday morning was had by BlackRock staff volunteering with School-Home Support (SHS) last week, as a troop of primary school children and parents showed up to learn all about the corporate world. A team of employees had volunteered to take part in an SHS aspiration session – a chance for disadvantaged children and parents, who would not otherwise get the opportunity, to gain some insight into what it’s like working in a large corporation.
Corporate partnerships are critical in helping SHS achieve its mission of tackling educational inequality and promoting social mobility. SHS aspirations sessions break down barriers to employment in the city, as although these businesses are often within a few miles of where many of the children we support live, they often feel a whole world away. Many of the families will go their whole lives without going into the centre of London or setting foot in an office – and they certainly don’t have the contacts that other families might have.
With the help of star monsters, children and parents spent the morning learning the key economic principles of supply and demand and, with the help of penny coins and a game of spoof, they gained some insight into how investment decisions are made (though we know it’s a lot more complicated than that!). The impressive ‘bull and ‘bear’ art pieces were much admired by children and parents, and made sense when the group learned that these are terms used to explain the state of the markets. A tour of the offices included a chat with BlackRock traders and staff, including those who are responsible for keeping BlackRock offices comfortable and the staff safe. It’s important that children learn about the variety of roles at all levels within a company, and they certainly got to do that. Excellent pizzas and an amazingly warm welcome made for a thoroughly enjoyable morning, and judging from the feedback – children, parents and BlackRock staff agree.
“It was wonderful to see the children’s enthusiasm to learn and to hear their perceptive questions. SHS do a fantastic job coordinating these sessions and it’s something we’d love do more of.” – Adam Cohen, BlackRock
“I really liked the games we played with coins to learn about how people make investment decisions.” – Resha, aged 9
“I enjoyed this, learning how serious the work is here and this is a great opportunity for the children.” – Mum of one of the children
“It was such a pleasure to host this group of children. They have been engaged, polite and a general pleasure to have with us today at BlackRock. We have got so much out of it! I would definitely love to do this again.” – Sally Atherton, BlackRock
“I loved the spoof game. It was interesting and a bit confusing, there are complicated roles at BlackRock.” – Elis, aged 10