Supporting the younger generation
The last 12 months has provided a variety of challenges for just about everyone. For the younger generation who are still in education the pandemic has caused a huge disruption to valuable years of their personal development. Without belittling the pressure home-schooling put on every family with school children, it caused a disproportionate set of issues for many low-income families and exacerbated a digital divide which was already causing academic disadvantage long before Covid-19.
The Child Poverty Action Group did a study in June 2020 on the cost of learning in lockdown to low-income households, they spoke to thousands of parents and young people and found that 40% of low-income families were missing at least one essential resource to support their children's learning [i]. Despite campaigns such as End Laptop Poverty as well as government intervention, this issue was far from resolved by the time schools reopened in March. The Social Mobility Foundation did a survey in January 2021 on 863 young people between the age of 16-18, which found that 40% of students who responded to the survey still did not have access to reliable broadband [ii].
With this additional layer of disadvantage, it is a vital time for companies to look at what support they could offer to these young people. For a second year, the Velox team are going to be mentoring for the Social Mobility Foundation’s Aspiring Professionals Programme. For those who haven’t heard of it before the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for high achieving students from low-income backgrounds. They set up the Aspiring Professionals Programme to open insight into professions to those without the means or network to get there alone and also support them in applying to top universities. We are due to be paired with our mentees for this year imminently, and look forward to sharing industry insight, knowledge, and general advice to support them throughout the next year.
You may have read our Head of Research Elina’s recent blog post on gender diversity in the hedge fund industry. She is involved with several great organisations which aim to tackle this issue. In addition to mentoring for the SMF Elina also volunteers for GAIN (Girls are Investors) which informs and inspires girls to get into the investment industry via learning resources and talks delivered by a strong network of female role models. She also volunteers for Maths4Girls which similarly delivers inspirational talks and resources to encourage female students to take maths beyond GCSE level with the aim of leading more women into maths-oriented career sectors. She also recently spoke on a virtual event run by Founders4Schools to over 250 students about the benefits of learning a language and the opportunities it can open.
Finally, on the theme of supporting the younger generation, Jeremy Stone has recently been appointed as Trustee of a fantastic charity called Apart of Me which has created an award-winning therapeutic game dedicated to supporting bereaved children, young people and parents. It serves as a guide to help young people navigate their way through grief and the wide range of emotions connected to it. As this is an especially significant topic now with millions more young people around the world bereaved because of COVID-19, we have decided on Apart of Me as our chosen charity for 2021 and will be making quarterly donations to them this year.
[i] Child Poverty Action Group ‘The Cost of Learning in Lockdown: family experiences of school closures’ (June 2020)
[ii] Social Mobility Foundation Survey (January 2021): The mental health impact of cancelled exams and school closures on young people