Extended Opportunities: Student shares the impact of an eye-opening Insights Day

Our speakers are dedicated to how they and their organisations contribute to and sometimes re-think how we can give students a ‘leg-up’ on their futures. Below is just one case of where our speakers are offering invaluable opportunities to young people in addition to their talk commitments, through actual work experience and extended opportunities. 


After HSBC’s UK Head of Commercial Banking, Ian Stuart, came to speak at Beckfoot School, he offered them the special opportunity to visit HSBC. Here Ameerah Turner-Desai, a Year 12 Sixth Form student, studying Art, English Literature, Sociology and Politics wrote about her day there and its impact on her and her future:


An Insights Day for students to come to London from Bradford and visit HSBC’s Canary Wharf offices, learning from grads, apprentices and associates through presentations, networking and activities to give them a glimpse into professional life.

Why did this seem like a great opportunity for you?

For some time now I have had a passion for equality and desire to improve peoples’ lives by addressing injustice (and promoting equality for everyone). To achieve my goal I have considered a career in law.

For me, the excitement in being a lawyer comes from the debating aspect. Speaking out and having discussion is something I’ve always valued and enjoyed. As law also has its business and corporate side to it, when the opportunity arose to visit HSBC in Canary Wharf I decided to apply for it. As I soon found out, this trip was not just for students aspiring to enter the financial world; it was for anyone with ambition.

I had originally listened to Ian Stuart speak when he came to my school as part of the ‘Speakers for Schools Charity’. Although I didn’t know too much about who he was or what he did, his clear and positive mind-set was incredibly inspiring. As well as speaking about the opportunities that HSBC offer to young people, he spoke about his childhood and what societal divides limited him. However, what was clear from the outset, was that he did not see these limits as a barrier, more so challenges to overcome. Which clearly he has achieved.

What was visiting HSBC like?

At HSBC, as well as having a tour around the building and listening to graduate students talking about their experiences at the company, we were offered a chance to speak to Ian Stuart and ask him questions. On asking Ian how similar the values of HSBC were to his personal values, he responded that the main two traits he aims to achieve in all aspects of his life are fairness and positivity. In addition, Ian added that he works with a team of really great people and the trust, communication and honesty within that team is vital, not only for maintaining moral in business, but for personal life as well.

The field of Human Rights is something I am incredibly passionate about, as well as the type of law I want to go into. The visit to HSBC made me look forward to developing my future and grasping all the opportunities I may be presented with.

What did you gain from this?

I came away from the experience thinking that HSBC is more than just a bank, they are a culture. It was interesting to hear one of the graduates say that because of the global level HSBC is on, it is important for them to be aware, welcoming and accepting towards different cultures and communities. As well as this when asking one of the graduates about diversity in the HSBC workplace, she told me that she had worked with others to set up a group called ‘balance’ which aimed to support others and help encourage further gender diversity at all levels.

Something Ian said that particularly stuck in my mind was that, no matter what boundaries may limit you, or what challenges you have to overcome, the most important thing is a positive attitude. A positive mental attitude is what separates the aspirers’ from the achievers. For me this meant, it’s what separates the thinkers from the doers. Once you tell others you will do something, they lose the power to say ‘you won’t’. And once you tell yourself you can do something, you never have to say ‘I can’t’.

I am glad that I put myself forward and got the opportunity to visit HSBC, as well as listen to Ian Stuart and the young graduates. The whole day was valuable and left me with a feeling that as long as you don’t put barriers up for yourself or accept barriers, anyone can achieve what they want with hard work and positive thinking.

Ameerah Turner-Desai

Would your company be interested in linking CSR and HR programmes to a speaker’s work with the charity?

To learn more about what the charity is doing to help encourage speakers and companies to connect their work placement opportunities with their talks, be sure to see our pilot on Extended Opportunities.