David Morley, head of UK Distribution at Candriam and Lucy Pryce, Head of Development, Making The Leap, discuss how the partnership with the Candriam Institute will make a very real difference to the lives of young people in the UK.
Since 2001, Candriam’s charitable programme, “Helping Those Who Help,” has donated over €1.6M to more than 84 organisations. The principle? Each year, employees are asked to nominate charities they thought were worthy of support. In 2021 of those put forward, 16 were chosen to receive a share of €200K.
One of the charities identified was Making The Leap, an innovative charity set up in 1993 that aims to transform the futures of young people from less-advantaged socioeconomic backgrounds by providing training to raise their aspirations and develop their skills, confidence and outlook to choose and succeed in a career. They work directly with young people in London aged 11 – 25.
Morley, who joined Candriam last June, has long had an interest in ESG and was impressed by how seriously Candriam takes these issues. Making the Leap fits neatly into Candriam’s robust ESG strategy, according to Morley, who worked with Making the Leap previously and was eager to propose to include them in Candriam’s current charity intake.
Making The Leap targets young people in 30 secondary schools across London every year, providing them with soft skills, including interview preparation for the business world. Around 250-300 students participate at any given time.
“I’ve been out to the schools and worked with these young people,” said Morley. “Many of them do not have access to professionals in the business world. A mentor can explain how business works and better equip them to succeed in a business environment. It’s an incredibly rewarding undertaking. We will be having meetings with Making The Leap over the next several months and my aim now is to get the Candriam London team involved in the programme.”
Pryce notes that the students, who initially might be reticent—and perhaps daunted—about interacting with business professionals, soon get excited about what they are learning, looking for ways to put the information into action.
She also explains that corporate support plays a huge role in the success of Making The Leap. “We currently have support from a number of corporates, many of whom volunteer directly with the young people; some also offer internships and fantastic entry level roles, which can help individuals kick start their career and set them on the path to success. We are delighted to be getting support from Candriam for our programmes.”
“In addition to our direct delivery, we raise awareness of the importance of social mobility and race equity among UK businesses & organisations and encourage them to take action to improve it. We organise the UK Social Mobility Awards and also host the Social Mobility Podcast where Tunde Banjoko OBE, our Founder and CEO, is joined by senior business leaders to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion. We hope some Candriam senior management will attend,” she noted.
Although Making The Leap had to switch from in-person to a digital delivery of its programmes due to Covid, Pryce says the plus side was that it got young people used to doing zoom calls, which they will have to do in a work environment. The charity has now resumed in person delivery with some continued virtual delivery as well.
Making The Leap is now looking at ways to further roll-out the programme during the rest of 2022.
“It’s a great initiative and I look forward to making plans with my colleagues for our active participation going forward,” added Morley. “Making the Leap shows the rewards that can be achieved through targeted social investment and how individual lives can be positively impacted.”