This year’s Professional Services Week (PSW), run by BPS Birmingham, enabled more than 350 year 9 and above students from across Birmingham visit 30 businesses; providing many with their first experience of the world of professional services, and giving them an insight into the opportunities open to them.
For an initiative entirely organised by a volunteer-run organisation, that is simply outstanding. BPS Birmingham have done a fantastic job of pooling the experiences of their network to provide this fantastic opportunity to the students in the city.
Last year, the inaugural year of PSW, before the sessions only 22% of students were able to give an example of a job within the professional services sector, by the end of the week 88% said they would consider a career in professional services. This was seen as a fantastic success, and we are excited to see what the longer term impact of this increased awareness will be.
For the second year Deloitte was headline sponsor, involved in the project from the get-go, but most importantly, providing 15 volunteers to run skills sessions to more than a hundred pupils. For those involved, they felt they were using their skills to add real value, helping to raise the aspirations of those children that visited our office during that week, many of which come from priority ward areas across the city.
This year, while all the above was still absolutely true, we managed to reach even more students and what really struck me was the sheer number of young professionals excited about and involved in giving something back to the school children in their local communities.
As Chair of Aspire, which is one part of BPS Birmingham, I often get the chance to speak to a wide array of young professionals in the city, and the resounding theme is that we want to make a meaningful difference. We do this by enabling young professionals to build their networks, and encouraging that network to pool together to give back in a meaningful way. PSW is a fantastic example of this, where the collective effort makes a far greater impact than each of us individually reaching out to schools to offer our support.
Birmingham is a vibrant and booming city, with an abundance of fantastic opportunities available - by opening the eyes of our school age children to these opportunities we stand a much better chance of growing and retaining our own talent, which I think is vital to our success as a city.