The East London Business Alliance (ELBA) enables successful partnerships between business and the community. ELBA’s mission is to create possibilities to bring about positive change in London by channelling the wide-reaching resources and influence of the private sector to address key areas of need. ELBA builds the connection between businesses and the community in east London and beyond, creating a positive impact and strong communities, promoting diversity and tackling the issues that determine social mobility.
In the past year, ELBA helped place over 300 people into work in London through its award-winning Employment Works programme. It has delivered over 12,000 business volunteers into the community and worked with over 300 local organisations in east London.
ELBA approached PEAR to work with their ‘Eagles’, new graduates who are looking to build a career in banking and business. ING Investment Bank had taken the Eagles on as interns for a year. Almost all of these Eagles grew up in inner London boroughs, mostly East London (Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham), Islington and Haringey. Many were the first people in their families to go to university and several had grown up in poverty and hardship. They do not have the social networks or enjoy the privileges that other more traditional groups who pursue careers in banking and business often have.
We were tasked with working with applicants on their year-long programme to build their skills, self-esteem and confidence. Crucially we needed to help intrinsically capable individuals present to, influence and persuade decision-makers. We were also asked to provide tools to help these higher flyers manage themselves psychologically to ensure their wellbeing at work.
We designed an aspiring leadership programme for young graduates.
We helped them with a set of communications skills. We trained them in storytelling technique, presentation skills and core communication principles. We worked with them to create presentations which would be delivered to GCSE students and ELBA/ING staff about their understanding of investment banking and their roles.
We designed several sessions of psychological education to help the Eagles understand more about themselves and others. How people in the workplace make decisions and what factors really influenced audiences. Themes also included working in teams, problem-solving and resilience.
We also led facilitated discussions around influence and power. We used ideas from Steven Lukes’ work on power to analyse and conceptualise how different forms of power play out in organisations.
The Eagles were up-skilled in how they could create agendas and shape the landscape in an organisational and business environment. For many of the participants, who do not come from a privileged background, making this explicit was especially helpful.
Later in the year, we worked with them again. We looked at problems that came up during their internship, goals for their next steps and did more work around psychological resilience and wellbeing at work.
We have had some amazing feedback from these courses and the impact will continue to be seen as the Eagles move into their careers applying the learning and experience they’ve acquired.
This programme is ongoing, supporting the work that ELBA and ING are doing with their Eagles.
“Thank you for delivering the amazing sessions for my ING Eagles group. They gave me a great opportunity to reflect and develop myself.”
“I was part of the ELBA group. I’d personally like to thank you for the sessions. The main things I took out of the sessions were the levels of presenting myself and how each level is interpreted. I also feel that the techniques will help to control my stammer where focusing on body language helps me to not focus on the fear of stammering.”
“More importantly, your kind words touched me and gave me a boost when it came to doing the presentation. I also think that you should be incredibly proud of the work you do, as it’s helped me a lot and I know it will help a lot more people in the future.”