Future Frontiers has partnered with wealth management firm, JM Finn, for two years, to run volunteer career coaching programmes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
We work closely with Adam Morrison, HR & Professional Development Officer at JM Finn, to set up the coaching programmes. Here, Adam shares why the firm chose to partner with Future Frontiers, and how the programme is helping the business to further embed and grow its culture of embracing diversity, and offering opportunities to young people.
Our values and priorities
Diversity and inclusion is a priority for us at JM Finn. It's an integral part of the company’s values of integrity, respect and accountability. It’s not just the right thing to do, it also makes sense from a business perspective. If our teams exhibit that diversity of thought, we' re going to be better at anticipating and responding to the diversity of thinking that our clients bring.
Programmes like Future Frontiers really help us promote that diversity of thinking, by giving us the chance to engage with young people and embrace different perspectives and experiences.
We recognise that the financial services sector as a whole needs to work on creating a more inclusive and diverse culture. At JM Finn we are starting to make good progress on this agenda, and we want to be a leader in the diversity of our talent and ideas. Programmes like Future Frontiers really help us promote that diversity of thinking, by giving us the chance to engage with young people and embrace different perspectives and experiences.
Our conversations with Future Frontiers began in 2020 and we ran our first coaching programme with them in 2021.
What initially stood out for us was not only the great work that Future Frontiers does in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, but that their programme was an opportunity for people within our business to put themselves out there, get involved in the community, talk with young people with quite different lived experiences, and to work alongside colleagues from other parts of the business that they wouldn't normally interact with.
It also aligns well with our culture of creating opportunities to develop young people. For a number of years we have welcomed graduates and school leavers to JM Finn: we take them through a journey of professional development that enables them to become fully qualified. So supporting the development of young people at a slightly younger age through the Future Frontiers programme was a great fit for our culture and ambitions.
Being a Future Frontiers “Lead Contact”
Being the “Lead Contact” at the business for Future Frontiers is really easy. Future Frontiers do the heavy lifting for you: they run the Lunch & Learn information session, process the DBS checks, and provide the training and resources. My role was simply to communicate the opportunity internally, and recruit the volunteers.
Running the programme a second time was even easier, as some of the volunteer coaches came back to do it again.
We’ve had lots of good feedback from our volunteers. For several of our coaches, the highlight was that break-through moment in the coaching where the young person finds a career they are very interested in; a job they can really see themselves doing.
Future Frontiers do all the heavy lifting for you: they run the Lunch & Learn information session, process the DBS checks, and provide the training and resources. My role was simply to communicate the opportunity internally, and recruit the volunteers.
In the fourth session you invite a professional from an industry or career that your mentee is interested in, to join the conversation. Several JM Finn coaches found it very rewarding to see their young person take the initiative, ask questions and be fully engaged in the interview. You can almost see the pupils visualising themselves in this person’s role!
The benefit to our business
Future Frontiers is a really good programme and we certainly see the benefit to JM Finn. Not only is it good to get a mix of colleagues sharing a coaching experience together, it also creates a buzz in the office.
Future Frontiers is a really good programme and we certainly see the benefit to JM Finn. Not only is it good to get a mix of colleagues sharing a coaching experience together, it also creates a buzz in the office. People see the students coming and they ask questions, and are excited to hear the business is supporting young people in this way - and they want to get involved too.
Our Future Frontiers Transition Manager posted on LinkedIn about our programme, and that got shared around too, raising further awareness of what we did. Other social media posts followed, and it builds that visibility even more. I believe that’s what’s important in creating a diverse and inclusive work culture: it’s about building that culture year on year so that more people get involved and you make a real difference in the long term.
It is also a good development tool, particularly for people who may be early on in their career. It offers a chance to network with people who might come from a different background. The coaching requires you to think creatively about how to approach a situation, like how to tease information and ideas from your coachee. And then of course you need to draw on your networks to find a professional role model for your student to interview, and that might be in an industry you are not familiar with at all. It’s both stretching for the coach, and a good way for JM Finn to promote our CSR and D&I activities.
We’re looking forward to running our third Future Frontiers programme in 2023.
The Future Frontiers coaching programme is a unique way to develop your staff whilst also making a positive impact in your local community. Get in touch with our team today to find out how your business could benefit from partnering with us.