Making the Leap: Our partnership with BNP Paribas

Heart of the City contributor company BNP Paribas is beginning its fourth year in partnership with social mobility charity Making the Leap. Making the Leap supports young people from less privileged backgrounds in London to develop employability skills. BNP Paribas provides corporate experiences which are designed to improve these young people’s soft skills and business acumen and since 2015, 197 staff members from BNP Paribas have contributed 977 hours of volunteering.

Why did BNP Paribas decide to partner with Making the Leap?

Nick Chryssafi, Chief of Staff at BNP Paribas Securities Service: “We believe strongly in supporting the local communities in which we operate and we wanted to further develop partnerships with charities that offer opportunities for our staff to volunteer their skills and experience.”

How does their partnership work? 

BNP Paribas’ and Making the Leap’s longstanding partnership works so well because the two organisations share the same vision: fair, responsible business practices in which all young people have access to the same opportunities to advance their careers. They work together on many levels; senior BNP Paribas employees sit on the judging panel for the UK Social Mobility Awards, which Making the Leap organises, and in 2018 they sponsored the ‘Leadership of the Year’ category at the awards.

This commitment from senior leaders at BNP Paribas is valuable in making sure responsible business stays high on the agenda. Their most senior staff lead by example by devoting time and resources to voluntary projects which has encouraged staff at all levels to get involved. Volunteers run monthly mock interview training for Making the Leap’s Fellows. While this greatly benefits the Fellows, who in many cases are experiencing the corporate world for the first time, the sessions are also highly valued by BNP Paribas staff according to Barry de la Cour:

“I did a Making the Leap interview skills day at a local school last year. I’m not exaggerating to say it was one of the most rewarding days ever. If you get the chance to participate in one, I 100% recommend it. The pupils really seemed to get a lot out of it.”

Of course, the 977 voluntary hours provided by BNP Paribas have been a great help to Making the Leap as well as benefiting BNP Paribas’ staff. Betty Campbell, Head of Educational Partnerships at Making the Leap: “It’s been great working with BNP staff. The Corporate Mock Interview Session is a highly regarded event in the school calendar not only by teachers but by students also. Thanks for sharing your life experiences, expertise and enthusiasm!”

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