Fife school comes out on top in finance challenge

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A school from Fife has finished top of the class after winning a competition giving students the chance to sharpen their investment skills.

Madras College in St Andrews was the winner of  the Investment Challenge, a joint initiative supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and BNP Paribas Securities Services in partnership with the publisher of the Global Investor business simulations.

The competition involved pupils working in teams to increase the value of a virtual investment fund, buying and selling shares and commodities and carrying out their own research to make investment decisions while reacting to incoming news stories.

Teams who performed best in the classroom were invited to the offices of BNP Paribas Securities Services in Dundee to take part in the final and to hear more about working in the Financial Services sector.

In the East of Scotland final, Madras College students Richard Byers, Rachel Allan, Owen Hunter and Scott Harris beat teams from Inverkeithing High and Waid Academy in Anstruther.

Stephen Forbes, Principal Teacher of Business and Computing at Madras College, said: “Our students have enjoyed the Investment Challenge. It really brought out their competitive streak.

“They have developed team working and analytical skills and increased their awareness of the skills required for future work and life in a fun and engaging way.”

In the West of Scotland final, Douglas Academy in Milngavie beat teams from Williamwood High in Clarkston and Gryffe High in Houston.

Hundreds of S5 students took part in the competition using the online business simulation Finance Lab, with volunteers from BNP Paribas Securities Services visiting each school to meet teachers and students and talk about opportunities in the sector.

Attila Boncz, Senior Manager at BNP Paribas Securities Services, said: “This competition gives young people an insight into  the world of financial services.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to explain more about what we do, the careers on offer in the sector and what steps young people should take if they want to work in financial services.”

The competition also forms part of SDS’s Skills Investment Plan for the Financial and Business Services sector, which aims to attract fresh young talent and improve work readiness

Ian Hanson, Key Sector Manager for Financial and Business Services at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The commitment and enthusiasm shown by schools across the country taking part in the Investment Challenge has been hugely impressive, and congratulations go to Madras College in emerging victorious.

“The finalists will have learned a great deal from visiting the offices of BNP Paribas, and the involvement of employers in activities such as this is hugely important if young people are to gain a firm understanding of the careers available in the sector.”