SFE Young Professionals consider their vital role in solving major challenges at annual parliamentary reception

Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), the member body for Scotland’s financial and professional services sector, held its annual Young Professionals Parliamentary Reception at Holyrood last night, highlighting the central role young people will play in driving a fair, green and inclusive recovery and shaping a brighter future for the sector, its customers and Scotland’s communities. 

Around sixty people attended the reception, hearing from Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Shirley-Anne Somerville and Scottish Labour Finance Spokesperson Daniel Johnson on key issues for young professionals in the sector including covid recovery, climate change and mental health.

The young professionals also heard from senior industry figures Sandy Begbie, SFE Chief Executive and Kevin Havelock, Regional Director at RBS who kindly sponsored the reception.

SFE’s Young Professionals Network was formed in 2016 by young people working in financial and professional services to offer new opportunities and career development. It now has over 700 members, holds regular events and is responsible for overseeing a number of projects.

This includes a key report on the perceptions of young professionals in financial and related professional services on mental health support in the sector which is being released next week with SAMH and See Me. A number of key actions are expected to be brought forward from the report which will inform a sectoral plan to create mentally healthy workspaces.

Another key project the network took responsibility over was SFE’s Pre-COP26 Green Finance Youth Summit which took place in October and explored the key role young people will play in ensuring the success of a just transition and meeting net zero, featuring participation from Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy Kate Forbes and COP26 President Alok Sharma as well as a number of business and third sector leaders.

Commenting on the event SFE Young Professionals Chair Milly Batchelor said: “It’s been an incredibly busy year for SFE and our young professionals network as the sector has adapted to massive changes. We are now looking towards the future and how we respond to the challenges of achieving net zero, supporting the economic recovery and creating a more diverse and inclusive sector. There is a real sense of optimism that we have a positive role to play in solving these challenges and tonight’s event was the perfect opportunity to reflect on this.”

SFE Chief Executive Sandy Begbie CBE said: “As a sector we are determined to make sure we have the very best offer for young people so that we can continue to attract the brightest talent while becoming more diverse and inclusive. Today’s reception reminded us of both the challenges and opportunities ahead as we continue to develop this ambition. I would like to thank Daniel Johnson MSP for kindly hosting the reception and Royal Bank of Scotland for their sponsorship.”

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The strength of Scotland’s financial and related professional services sector is a national success story. The sector has a central role to play in solving some of the big challenges we face today, from supporting a fair, green and inclusive recovery to improving wellbeing in its workforce and across society. I am determined to ensure that through the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, young people are equipped with the right skills to support the sector’s continued growth and success. Across Scotland, there are over 380 employers, including SFE members Morgan Stanley, Baillie Gifford and the Phoenix Group, who have signed up to support the Guarantee.”