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Scottish School pupils go for growth in financial skills challenge

17 June 2013

  • SDS Press Release Archive

Scottish School pupils go for growth in financial skills challenge

Two Scottish schools are celebrating after taking the top spots in this year's Investment Challenge, a joint initiative funded by banking and financial services company, BNP Paribas, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Investment Operations in partnership with 10 Lane Learning. 

Waid Academy in Anstruther, Fife took top honours in the North East Challenge final held at BNP Paribas Securities Services offices in Dundee on Thursday, 13 June, while Williamwood High School in East Renfrewshire triumphed in the Glasgow  Challenge final at BNP Paribas in Glasgow the same day.      

The Investment Challenge enables pupils to apply their knowledge of mathematics, business and economics, and helps them to develop their communication, problem-solving, decision making, team building and negotiation skills. 

The initiative offers a unique engagement opportunity between schools and companies like BNP Paribas and aims to help pupils leave school prepared for the world of work with the capabilities and confidence to handle future higher education and career decisions. The initiative, through the direct involvement of BNP Paribas volunteers, also supports the financial services sector in its need to create a world-class competitive workforce.  

Ross Thomson, BNP Paribas head of operational controls, said: "The Investment Challenge is a fantastic way for our staff to help young people in a tangible way by going into schools across the region to help build their understanding of the business world whilst developing their skills and having fun. The initiative links well with our community goals and gives pupils  the opportunity to apply their learning at school to a highly realistic financial setting, whilst bringing their own fresh perspective."

The project involved more than 300 pupils from S3 to S6 from schools across the North East and West regions of Scotland who have been participating over the past few months in the qualifying rounds using the online financial markets simulation tool, Global Investor, which schools have received free of charge as part of 10 Lane Learning's sponsorship in the hope of leaving a lasting legacy within each school taking part.

Regarded by teachers as a unique opportunity, volunteers from BNP Paribas visited each school during the qualification phase to meet teachers and pupils to give career mentoring presentations and help them with the simulation. The culmination of the Challenge were final events held at BNP Paribas's offices in Dundee and Glasgow for the top schools from the qualifying rounds.

Waid went head to head with from Balwearie High School from Kirkcaldy and Blairgowrie High School in the North East final, but it was Waid who impressed the judges and scooped the £500 prize for their school.  

Williamwood similarly faced stiff competition from Boclair High School from Bearsden in the Glasgow final, again walking away with £500 for their school. 

Danny Logue, Operations Director of SDS said: "The Investment Challenge allows major employers like BNP Paribas Securities Services to work with local schools and communities and gives students an insight into the wide range of further and higher education opportunities available as they develop ideas about future careers. Our young people have much to offer, so it is essential that we support the further development of their skills and knowledge." 

Alan Thornburrow, Chief Executive of Scottish Investment Operations added: "At SIO we think it is essential that we focus on developing the qualifications and skills of our young people, to ensure the appropriate skills base is in place to take advantage of the job opportunities now and in the future. Initiatives such as the Investment Challenge provide us with an opportunity to introduce the world of finance to young people whilst also helping our next generation of business leaders to consider a high value qualification in finance, banking or accounting."

Finals day in Dundee included a mini-lecture on financial markets from a professor at Dundee University, a chance for pupils to discuss career options with BNP Paribas HR team and an explanation on how funds are priced and looked after from their Securities team. Glasgow pupils were treated to a similar package of support at their final with a professor at Glasgow Caledonian University sharing his knowledge with the budding investors.   


Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Decottegnie, BNP Paribas Securities Services Press Office + 44 (0)207 595 4653

Fiona Riddell, External Communications, Skills Development Scotland
0141 285 6127 or

Please visit the project pages of the Investment Challenge website for more information:

Participating Schools: North East Region

Arbroath Academy                            Viewforth High School
Blairgowrie High School                     Waid Academy
Carnoustie High School                     Balwearie High School
Bell Baxter High School                     Madras College
Dunfermline High School                   Braeview Academy
Perth Academy

Participating Schools: West Region

Johnstone High School                      All Saints Secondary
Boclair Academy                               St Luke's High School
Clydebank High School                     St Ninian's High School
Smithycroft Secondary School            Lourdes Secondary School
Bellahouston Academy                     Williamwood High School
Inverclyde Academy                         St Andrew's Secondary School