Free finance and digital skills event for BAME students aims to give their future a boost

A free event to help students from diverse backgrounds learn financial and digital skills that could help them land their first job and get on the property ladder is being held by Nationwide and Microsoft.

Financial Freedom 2021 will take place on Wednesday, October 20, and young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds will hear from business leaders about repaying student loans, savings, pensions, mortgages, how to invest and financial freedom, as well as help them build an app.

Participants will also get hands on with technology, building an app during the event. Participants do not need to have coded before, and the event will give them real-world, hands-on developer experience they can use in the future. Students with the best app ideas will also receive one-to-one mentoring sessions with experts at the event to support them in their career planning and development, while also helping them to build their CVs.

According to Microsoft research, more than two-thirds (69%) of UK business leaders believe their organisation is currently facing a digital skills gap. The majority of UK employees (59%) think developing their digital skills will be important to future employability, while 49% felt it was important to develop their digital skills capabilities following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Financial Freedom 2021 is being held in Black History Month, which this year has the theme of “Proud to Be”.

Zephaniah Chukwudum, who leads Microsoft’s EMBRACE Employee Resource Group in the UK, said: “Digital skills are incredibly important for any young person starting out in their career, and we want  to encourage more people from the BAME community to get into technology. Not only does the technology sector offer rich and rewarding careers for everyone, but Microsoft also understands that technology products and services need to empower every person on the planet to achieve more. That is only possible if the people designing, marketing and selling those products and services are also from a diverse range of backgrounds.”

Jane Hanson, Chief People Officer at Nationwide, said “We are pleased to work with Microsoft on such an important event. In a fast-paced, changing world, digital and financial skills are so important and we are excited to offer students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn and develop in this area. By showcasing some of the possibilities, and encouraging the students to develop their digital skills, we hope to inspire the next generation today to see themselves as the tech leaders of tomorrow.”

Financial Freedom 2021 will include a panel discussion featuring Simone Steel, Nationwide Chief Data Officer; Louis Wilson, Financial Planning Manager at Nationwide; Geraldine Maringo, Chief Product Owner at Nationwide; Bunmi Durowoju, a Senior Business Development Manager at Microsoft who was named one of the top 100 most influential BAME leaders in UK tech by the Financial Times and Inclusive Boards; and Zephaniah Chukwudum, who leads Microsoft’s EMBRACE Employee Resource Group.

To find out more about Financial Freedom 2021 and sign up for the event, click here.