Mon, 18 Dec 2023

At BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, making a positive impact in our local communities is at the heart of what we do.

To commemorate our 50th anniversary year, we committed to volunteering 1,200 hours across the business — the equivalent of 50 days! And we’ve already smashed our target!

As part of our volunteering activity, we teamed up with award-winning training provider, Digital Innovators, which specialises in giving young people access to fulfilling career opportunities.

Transition to work

Over the course of five weeks, members from the Executive Team at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK joined the team at Digital Innovators to meet with young people studying at Solihull College.

Whilst partaking in Digital Innovators’ Transition-To-Work programme, which is designed to enable young people to unlock their potential, the students worked together to develop a business idea based on one of two sustainability challenges.

The challenge areas were:

  • How can we make fast fashion sustainable?
  • How can we reduce food waste?

From inspiration to ideation

To provide further insight into the world of work and offer the opportunity to explore the viability of their business ideas, Digital Innovators invited colleagues at BNP Paribas Personal Finance to join the students for their ideation sessions.

Colleagues from across the business joined the students to generate ideas for their projects as well as share their business insights, career journeys, and professional advice.

Among the volunteers was a recent addition to the BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK team, our new Chief Operations Officer, Penny Clarke.

Penny spoke of her volunteering experience with the students: “Volunteering with Digital Innovators has been absolutely fantastic! It was great to get involved in the brainstorms and to see the students come up with ideas that I hadn’t even considered.”

Susan Farmer, Chief People Officer at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK, added: “To see how these students have developed their ideas using outside-of-the-box thinking has been really refreshing.

“Underpinning this, of course, is seeing how important being ‘digital’ is to the development of new ideas and new projects, which is something we’re very passionate about at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK.”

Dragon’s Den

Following five weeks of mentoring and exchanging knowledge, colleagues were invited to attend a ‘Dragon’s Den’ panel during Birmingham Tech Week to hear and give feedback on the students’ final presentations.

After the panel session and some brilliant presentations, we had a chance to speak with some of the students on the programme about their experience working with BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK colleagues throughout the programme.

Maya, a business student at Solihull College, shared what she’d learned from the process: “The team at BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK were really approachable and shared some useful advice. The main thing I’ve taken away is that it doesn’t matter where you start, all you need is good communication and creativity.”

Ubaidh, an IT student, added: “I was initially very nervous at the start of the programme. However, as I interacted with more and more people, I started to come out of my shell and put myself in their shoes. So, I’ve really grown in confidence as a result.”

Find out more about how we make a positive impact here.