SFE YP Blog | Reflections from our 2021 Parliamentary Reception

Shelbie Smyth is an Operations Associate at Morgan Stanley and Co-communications Lead for the SFE Young Professionals

On Thursday 2 December, I was lucky enough to attend the Scottish Financial Enterprise Young Professionals (SFE YP) Annual Parliamentary reception at Holyrood. As a relatively new addition to the committee - I took the role of Comms Lead in September - I was looking forward to attending the hugely popular event.  For me it held extra significance as my first in person event since the start of the pandemic. The roughly 60 attendees were given the opportunity to network amongst SFE YP members, committee members and our excellent speakers; Shirley-Anne Somerville (Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills)  Daniel Johnson, (Scottish Labour Finance Spokesperson), Sandy Begbie (SFE Chief Executive), Kevin Havelock (Regional Director at RBS) and, last but not least, Milly Batchelor (SFE YP Committee Chair).

Several themes were covered by our speakers including COVID recovery, diversity and inclusion and the focus on climate change, particularly in light of COP26. Daniel and Shirley-Anne spoke of the importance of the financial services industry to the Scottish economy and the pivotal role that young people play in shaping its future. They acknowledged that young professionals will be the key to evolving the industry to be more diverse and environmentally focused. Shirley-Ann also touched on the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee that aims to ensure that the younger generation are given the relevant skills to contribute to our growing financial industry within Scotland.

Sandy reinforced this message and emphasised the importance of ensuring an inclusive industry and the ongoing commitment to attracting the best and brightest young people, including initiatives like the Unified Schools programme.

Kevin shared his tips and advice for being impactful in a virtual environment and encouraged young professionals to make the most of all opportunities to network, whether in person or whilst working remotely. Simple things, such as always having your camera on during zoom calls and being proactive with checking in on your network, can make a difference. This advice resonated from both a professional development and a mental wellbeing perspective.

As someone new to the SFE YP, hearing Milly share all that the committee has delivered and achieved in 2021 across the numerous events, initiatives and blogs was a great motivator. Since joining I have already seen the enthusiasm and passion from individuals who really want to make a difference for young people in our sector. As we look to 2022, I am excited to see how the committee take action across our different focus areas: achieving net zero, supporting economic recovery, developing skills and creating more diversity and inclusion within the industry.

As beneficial as the many connectivity events I have attended virtually have been, being able to attend in person really made a difference. It was great to meet committee members who I had only ever seen over Zoom and I really enjoyed being able to speak to many of our SFE YP members. These events are great opportunities to not only network across our member firms, but they also allow young professionals to share their experiences within the industry.

I’m also grateful that the first in person event I have attended took place in Scottish Parliament. I had only been in the building once previously, for a brief visit before a walk-up Arthur’s Seat, so I was thankful for the opportunity to spend time there. Catching a glimpse of the Edinburgh Christmas markets coming off the train from Glasgow was an additional bonus and a very festive way to start December.

Thank you to our speakers, our members in attendance, the committee for planning the event and to RBS for sponsoring. To ensure you are informed about all of the SFE YP events and initiatives taking place in 2022, you can register here to become a member.