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Catalyst Education Programme

1. What is the goal of the Catalyst Education Programme?

To provide economically disadvantaged pupils with the aspiration, belief and tools to develop a career in the investment and savings industry.

The challenges:


Social deprivation can result in a stigmatising of young people, which results in lower expectations of economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority pupils. These students have few recognisable role models in education or in careers and find it difficult to access vocational training. The outcome is that economically disadvantaged and minority pupils enter further or higher education and then struggle to enter the corporate world.

The solution:


The Catalyst Education Programme (CEP) was founded in academic year 2020-21 by Andrien Meyers (City of London Corporation) and Gavin Lewis (Blackrock). This joint venture between #TalkAboutBlack  (A workstream of the Diversity Project) , the City of London Corporation and IntoUniversity was created to provide economically disadvantaged pupils with the aspiration, belief and tools to develop a career in the investment and savings industry.

With the sponsorship and support of the investment and savings industry, the programme has evolved over time. The current two-year programme (2022-24) is aimed at Year 12 students studying in London.  75 students from 28 schools are currently enrolled.

2. Who Sponsors the Programme?

The investment and savings industry fund the programme, as well as providing professionals who support students via a variety of workshops.  This helps to bring the topics students are learning about via the qualification alive and makes content more relevant to the world of investments. If you are an organisation interested in sponsoring and supporting the programme, please contact Matthew Bolton, the Catalyst Education Programme Manager.

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London CIV logo

Work Experience Partner

The Catalyst Education Programme is proud to partner with The PGIM Inspire Programme, which is open to our students aged between 17 and 18 years of age.  PGIM Inspire includes business overviews and panel discussions, as well as skill-building sessions on presentation skills and CV writing & interviewing.

The aim of the Programme is to provide:

    • a high-level understanding of the investment management business;
    • insight into various careers in investment management and various corporate functions; and
    • allow students to get a feel of an office environment. 

3. What does the Catalyst Education Programme look like?

The programme consists of three elements:


Study online towards a professional qualification (CISI Level 2 Award in Fundamentals of Financial Services)

Online teaching sessions provide an understanding of financial services and an overview of key concepts and terminology relating to it:

  •  Ethics and integrity in financial services
  •  Saving and borrowing
  •  Banking (retail, investment and central banks)
  •  Equities
  •  Bonds
  •  Derivatives (forwards, futures and options)
  •  Markets (stock exchanges and stock market indices)
  •  Other areas of financial services (fund management, retirement planning, insurance and foreign exchange)

Assessed via a one-hour computer-based exam taken at a Test Centre in London.

Years 1 and 2

Work Shadowing and Insight Event in Year 1


Face-to-face workshops with Investment Management Professionals

Eight 90-minute face-to-face workshops across the two-year programme, delivered by investment management professionals.  These sessions will help apply the qualification content to the investment management profession:

  • Investment Management as a profession 
  • Ethical and Impact Investing 
  • Investment Management Roles 
  • Investment Management Clients 
  • Working with equities as an asset 
  • Types of Investment Funds
  • Working with bonds as an asset 
  • Working with derivatives as an asset 

Sessions take place at a firm’s offices in the city.

Years 1 and 2


Participate in employability workshops working with ‘mentors’ from the industry

Three two-hour face-to-face sessions working with industry mentors covering the following:

  •  Core Transferable Skills and Abilities (building confidence, resilience, creativity and teamwork)
  •  Writing effective CVs, Cover Letters and Personal Statements 
  •  Effective communication, Pitching and Body Language
  •  Preparing for and being successful in interviews

Sessions take place at a firm’s offices in the city.

Year 2

Years 1 and 2

Year 2

Work Shadowing and Insight Event in Year 1

4. How does the Catalyst Education Programme make a difference?

The programme supports students to:
  • develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to pursue a career in the investment and savings industry
  • build professional networks
  • participate in work shadowing
  • gain a recognised professional qualification to differentiate CVs and/or personal statements
  • understand relevant career pathways and opportunities within the investment management industry that are open to them on leaving school or university
The programme supports sponsors to:
  • make a difference to the career prospects and opportunities of young people who need it most
  • develop and nurture a diverse pool of potential young talent from local communities
  • create social impact (Core element of ESG)
  • meet several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

5. How can I get involved?

You can get involved If you are:

An organisation interested in sponsoring and supporting the programme

A school or college interested in providing this opportunity to your students

A school or college student interested in participating in the programme

For more info contact [email protected]

For more info contact [email protected]

Please contact Matthew Bolton (Catalyst Education Programme Manager).