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Charity kicking goals for youth

06 Feb 2017

As a charity that works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, one of the numbers Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) is most proud of is that almost all of its recent graduates strongly agree with the statement “LTSB is essential to my current success”.

It’s certainly something that Shane Cooke, an LTSB apprentice with Macquarie London’s Financial Management Group (FMG) since 2016, agrees with. He says he would likely never have got to the interview stage at Macquarie without LTSB’s assistance.

“They had the relationship [which got me in the door],” Cooke says. “My CV wasn’t great so LTSB helped me with that, and the interview training helped massively, as did presentation skills and the confidence boost.”

A UK charity that provides young people with access to careers in high-level business and finance, LTSB partners with blue-chip companies and elite football foundations. The aim of its accountancy apprenticeship programmes is to develop young people personally and professionally, helping them better prepare for the business world.

Cooke is about to commence a level four accountancy qualification, which helps with some parts of his role working across corporate reporting, trading finance and product control areas.

“I quite like being involved with so many teams – my work is very varied which makes for an interesting day, not just doing the same thing all the time,” he says. “I feel very useful.”

LTSB requires that its apprentices help out with coaching and events at the football club they are assigned to. This is the hook for many of its young people; indeed Cooke says that is how he found out about its program.

“I literally found LTSB through the internet, I was looking for a sports apprenticeship and because they have sport in their name they came up [in the search], even though they are more focused on the business side,” he says, adding that he’s played football since he was five years old and had done PE in his GSCEs.

Natasha Ashdown, who works in Human Resources at Macquarie, helped set up Cooke’s apprenticeship at Macquarie and said the firm was keen to ensure it attracts a diverse range of candidates.

“Firstly, we do think there are a number of benefits in accessing people that we wouldn’t ordinarily tap into through our traditional recruitment pathways; it brings us greater diversity of thought and experience,” she says.

“And it extends beyond that to offer other types of experiences. We are able to develop managers’ capabilities and experience by partnering with LTSB to run networking and speed mentoring events for our employees with the apprentices.

“The young people are really committed but a different style of management can be required, so from a leadership point of view that is beneficial as you’re also developing different techniques, particularly in coaching and communication.”

The Macquarie Group Foundation is a principal funder of LTSB, which has also benefited from Macquarie’s Community Resourcing programme connecting Macquarie staff to charities seeking pro bono assistance.

Macquarie staff Thomas Malaney, George Bullock and Patrick Morton recently volunteered to help produce an LTSB 2012-2017 impact report and Macquarie Asset Management director Mark Braithwaite is also on LTSB’s board of trustees.

“Our relationship with LTSB has taken off because of the bottom-up approach we have at Macquarie; the partnership is driven by our employees’ commitment to the program, not by HR,” says Ashdown.

“We also have a second apprentice who’s starting in Macquarie Energy Leasing – it’s great to see our various businesses championing the program.”

Cooke’s 12-month contract with Macquarie was recently extended and he says for the next few years he wants to go as far as he can within the banking sector.

“I’ve enjoyed my first year at Macquarie,” he says. “I most like the flexibility involved and how friendly the people I work with are. Everyone was welcoming and helpful when I started and still are – I have no reason to look elsewhere.”

Image caption: 2016 Leadership Through Sport & Business London apprentices, with Shane Cooke, Macquarie, top row, fourth from left.