Media release: Competition shows Scotland’s finance industry will be in good hands

PUPILS from 50 schools in Glasgow, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries-shire took part in this year’s Stock Market Challenge and finished with investments of over £1,000,000 in virtual shares and currency.

The competition, designed as a world-of-work initiative, was delivered by Skills Development Scotland and sponsored by BNP Paribas Securities Services.

The challenge took place on Wednesday and Thursday (January 26 and 27) in Glasgow’s famous Mitchell Library and focused on teaching pupils how financial markets operate, while also promoting the values of communication and team working skills.

Working in small teams, the S3 pupils were challenged to use their skills to manage a portfolio of shares and foreign currencies. The participating teams made their investment decisions by interpreting and analysing information from the financial markets. Simulated live trading was held over a two-hour period.

Lockerbie Academy stormed the trading floor at the first event for South West region schools and came out on top finishing with an exceptionally well-managed fund of £59,900. The following day, Milngavie’s Douglas Academy won the West region event leaving with £46,400 in the green.

Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, Angela Constance, said:

“This event is a great opportunity for young people to learn how the markets work, be that with an eye to pursuing a career in the financial world or simply through gaining knowledge that will help them better manage their money in the future.

“It fits perfectly with Curriculum for Excellence, by providing a context for the development of skills, for learning, life and work.

“Scotland’s financial sector currently offers teaching materials and continuing professional development support for teachers in an effort to ensure that young people have access to the good quality advice and guidance they need.

“The Stock Market Challenge builds on that partnership by giving a first hand insight into an important industry which could help uncover some of the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future.”

This year, the sponsors made this experience even more accessible by giving the participating schools a free year-long licence for the Stock Market Challenge online resource.

Stephen Donnet, head of BNP Paribas’ Scotland operations, commented: “It has been a great pleasure to sponsor Stock Market Challenge again this year.

“This event gives many youngsters an insight into how financial markets work, and gives us the opportunity to share our skills and knowledge.

“Reports from the Challenge indicate that the spirit and enthusiasm were as high as ever. It was also exciting to hear about the entrepreneurship and financial acumen many of the participants displayed over the day.”

Damien Yeates, chief executive of Skills Development Scotland, said: “This year’s Stock Market Challenge has been another great success. The hard work and determination displayed by the pupils who took part in Glasgow is terrific.

“The competition is a fantastic way to help educate pupils about the financial markets in an enjoyable setting. However, it also provides them with the opportunity to work as a team and improve and develop their communication and decision making abilities.

“These are important skills which are vital to help them get ahead when they leave school, whether they decide to go into employment or further education.”

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Contact: Skills Development Scotland press team