U.K. football legend Sir Geoff Hurst and David Pinchin, former CEO of Tradition Financial Services.
A lot of my friends are either dead or in jail because they got involved in drugs. That’s a path I don’t have to consider now because I have this job,” said one of the students in the U.K. Leadership Through Sport and Business program. The program, designed to offer young people from underprivileged communities the opportunity to build a better future, was founded by David Pinchin, a former chief executive officer at Tradition Financial Services, an inter-dealer broker.
The program combines academics, sports and an apprenticeship in a 16-month program that frequently ends with an employment offer. Leadership Through Sport and Business is supported by a variety of individuals in the listed and over-the-counter derivatives communities.
It was the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York that helped drive Pinchin to form Leadership Through Sport and Business.“I’ve thought about young adults getting distracted in the wrong way and getting brainwashed and doing things they shouldn’t do in varying degrees and how one could change that,” he said.
Pinchin, a sports fanatic, felt that leadership skills could be learned on the sports field. Leadership Through Sport was born, a program that is helped greatly by several well-known football clubs in the U.K. including West Ham United and Everton.
But when he visited with members of the communities in which these young people lived, he quickly realized that it is hard to be a leader without a job. Pinchin concluded that getting involved in business would have a much better parental buy-in, so Leadership Through Sport became Leadership Through Sport and Business. He reached out to ex-colleagues Michael Spencer at ICAP and Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, who agreed to help him fund the first year of the program.
So far, two classes or “cohorts” have graduated, and the results have been impressive. Nearly all of the participants so far have landed permanent job offers, and more than 80% of the students were offered jobs by the employers for which they apprenticed.
How It Works
Each spring, a diverse group of young adults are recruited for classes that begin in September. Each cohort ideally includes 20 students. The class of 2015-16 will start in September 2015 and end in December 2016. The program begins with students attending college classes for three days a week and working with participating football clubs. In addition to accounting skills, the curriculum includes practical instruction such as writing resumes and interviewing skills. Students begin interviewing with potential employers in November/December and the one-year apprenticeship begins in January.
During the apprenticeship, they work four days a week and attend one day of class. In addition to the apprenticeship program, students participate in a mock trial and negotiating games, and receive coaching in public speaking, developing business plans and business ethics. Guest speakers share their experiences and provide inspiration.
Leadership Through Sport and Business is a core charity of Futures For Kids.
Another key objective of the program is to encourage the students to think about giving back. This is accomplished through mentoring in the classroom and with the football clubs. Because students selected for the program have strong academic skills, they work with younger students to teach them both academic and life skills.
Leadership Through Sport and Business has 35 students in the program this year and plans to grow that number to 100 next year. But in order to reach that goal, more employers are needed.
Pinchin says that the size of the firm is not a factor.“As long as they are good companies and they understand who these people are and they give them a little time to get used to it, they will find Leadership Through Sport and Business students are fantastic assets,” says Pinchin.
Several financial services and consulting firms have committed to offering apprenticeships, including Barclays, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, ICAP and Tradition. “What we're finding is that more and more employers in the U.K. are taking school leavers (high school graduates), rather than young people who have gone to university. They are taking more 18 year olds than 22 year olds these days because they have better value and especially if they come from underprivileged areas, they are hungrier.”
For more information about becoming an employer in the Leadership Through Sport and Business program, contact: