Name of Company:Merrill Lynch
Programme Name:Merrill Lynch Responsible Citizenship Programme
Staff in London:5000
The Merrill Lynch Responsible Citizenship Programme began in 1999 and reflects the firm's focus on young people's skills development and economic wellbeing. The programme's principal philanthropic focus is the education of young people from socially and economically challenged communities.
The Programme works with pupils at Osmani Primary School, Swanlea, Mulberry and Bow Secondary Schools. The chief component of this Programme is the Merrill Lynch Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme (MLEE). Within the MLEE programme, 475 volunteers have now worked with 1,800 pupils on a 3-year programme of 16 enterprise-based activities designed to introduce students aged 12 to 15 to the world of work, improve their financial literacy, communications and work-related skills. The Programme now attracts over 500 members of staff who take part in programmes each year, many on multiple occasions.
MLEE not only teaches enterprise & entrepreneurship but also key life skills. Activities take place either at the schools or at Merrill Lynch offices, delivered or supported by Merrill Lynch colleagues. The programme includes:
- Induction Day: students undertake a marketing exercise and present to their peers
- Basic Beliefs lesson: on responsible behaviour in school and in the workplace, where students produce a set of school rules and present to their class
- Three Project Business days: students learn about the market economy, savings and investments and methods of production
- Three 'Investing Pays Off': finance-related lessons on budgeting, financial plans and international currency
- Presentation skills: coaching and competition
- Cranfield Business Challenge: a business simulation to help students learn to run a business.
- Essay Competitions: improving students' literacy
- Career Options: students are helped to identify academic subjects to support a potential career. Followed up by visits to the schools by Merrill Lynch colleagues.
- Enterprise Clubs: students set up their own businesses.
There is also a Summer Business School (three-day THEBP enterprise skills course) and a Study Skills Weekend at Bowles Outdoor Centre (team building and enterprise study activities). Partnerships have been developed with Young Enterprise, NFTE, Cass Business School, Cranfield Business College.
At the start of the partnership with Osmani School in 1999, the school had just emerged from special measures. Key Stage 2 SATs have since improved from 63 per cent at Level 4+ English (2000) to 91 per cent (2007) and from 80 percent Maths (2000) to 91percent (2007). Maths and English results are now above national averages.
Attendance at Bow School is at its highest ever at 93.6 per cent, and the school has been named the 19th Most Improved School (Key Stage 3). Year 11's exit survey showed that Merrill Lynch's business mentoring was the top response as to what had made the most difference to the school.
MLEE has given 1,800 students access to 7,000 days of enterprise learning through 30 activities, delivered by 475 Merrill Lynch professionals and enterprise education partners. Recent Year 9 Level 5+ Maths SATs results have improved by 17 per cent at Swanlea (72 per cent) and 5 per cent at Bow (60 per cent) and Mulberry (71 per cent). Swanlea's Key Stage 4 Business results A-C have increased from 54 per cent to 95 per cent, which the school attributes to MLEE for 'stimulating pupils' interest in, and providing an excellent foundation to the subject.
Business Mentors have provided advice, inspiration and encouragement to more than 140 students at Bow School. The school attributes improved exam results to the programme's success.
MLEE schools testify that students benefit from learning about the fundamentals of business and personal finance and gaining an insight into the world of work and business professionals. They develop important life and work-related skills like communications, presentations and public speaking skills. The programme helps break down perceptions of the City of London being inaccessible to them in providing future careers. The development of these skills are transferable to their parents, many of whom may not be familiar with some of the financial knowledge gained through MLEE.