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Diversity, youth and education

How RBC’s commitment aligns to all three

October 28, 2013 - Since 1869, RBC has been committed to investing in the future so that we can make the world a better place. Our recent RBC Believe in Kids Pledge announcement focuses on all we do to support kids and youth, which includes helping young people in diverse communities flourish through education. Here are just some of the ways RBC teams around the globe are making diversity, youth and education a priority.

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) - Capital Markets U.S.

In 2011, RBC Capital Markets U.S. began working with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), an organization that has provided college students of color paid summer internships in competitive industries across America. Through training, mentoring, networking and support, over 75% of eligible interns have received full-time job offers.

Andre Gutierrez, an SEO intern in Global Markets in 2012 remarked, “The RBC SEO experience has been unique in that I have been able to be exposed to many ‘firsts.’ As the first SEO intern through the Global Markets Program, I was able to expose the SEO brand to the RBC community. Since coming on full time, the development of that relationship has continued to grow stronger.”
“It’s a great partnership,” said Roger Blissett, Head of U.S. Strategy and 1982 SEO graduate. “We’re looking for ways to make it richer and deeper.”

RBC Academy—Capital Markets UK

Founded in September 2010, RBC Academy is a unique program that provides learning and work experience opportunities for students from inner-London boroughs.

During their final year of school, a selection process gives a limited number of talented students with an interest in pursuing a career in banking the opportunity to participate in training workshops and become part of the Academy.

Successful students receive financial aid during their university years, as well as a mentor for the duration of the RBC Academy program.

When asked about how RBC Academy has affected her, Vanessa Pinto, a recent RBC Academy student said, “I’ve had such a great time at RBC! I learned a lot about how open and varied the banking industry is. There are so many directions you can take. Thank you so much to everyone who has played a part in my journey, especially my team. I look forward to coming back.”

Outreach Program at RBC Insurance—Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

This year, RBC Insurance, in partnership with Pitney Bowes, began developing an outreach program with the local school board that enabled them to hire two volunteer students with disabilities. Through this work placement within the Pitney Bowes reprographics area that serves RBC, the students were able to work toward earning high school credits while learning about day-to-day operations. In addition to developing social skills and building self confidence, this partnership offered students a great opportunity to gain work experience and develop life skills while earning their diploma.

RBC Financial Literacy Program—Jamaica, West Indies

In April of this year, RBC Royal Bank in Jamaica partnered with Junior Achievement Jamaica to develop a financial literacy program for youth between the ages of the 13 and 15 years old. Junior Achievement is a worldwide organization that trains volunteers from the business world to teach young people about business and entrepreneurship.

The RBC Financial Literacy Program is comprised of three parts:

  • Training of RBC employees to enable them to teach students the importance of budgets; making financial decisions; using credit; etc.
  • Job shadows and branch tours, during which 79 star high school students were paired with RBC employees to learn about RBC and the different jobs in the financial sector.
  • Essay competition, which challenged students to write an essay on what financial literacy means to them and its importance to youth for the opportunity to spend the day with RBC market heads.

Pathways to Education—Canada
In 2010, RBC committed $1 million over four years to help support Pathways to Education programs in low-income and at-risk communities in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Pathways to Education helps youth in at-risk communities graduate from high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education. Its goal is to break down systemic barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based programs proven to lower drop-out rates.
Through the work of dedicated volunteers, Pathways provides a comprehensive set of academic, financial and social supports to youth, including after-school initiatives, mentorship programs, and stay-in-school summer jobs for grade 11 students. The results of this unique program have been groundbreaking, reducing high school drop-out rates by as much as 70 per cent.

RBC Royal Eagles Backpack Program
For the fourth year, the RBC Royal Eagles has partnered with the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) for the annual Backpack Program, which runs from July to September. Friendship Centres from across Canada use donations from RBC and other sponsors to purchase backpacks filled with school supplies for Aboriginal children and youth in their local communities.
In 2013, with a donation of $112,625, RBC helped fill approximately 4,000 backpacks through 17 local Friendship and Non-Friendship Centres. Not only does the program supply children and youth with much-needed supplies for school, it also creates a broader sense of community. Many of the Friendship Centres find creative ways of distributing the backpacks to the kids and their families. The Vancouver Friendship Centre Society makes it a daylong celebration, including meals, entertainment and a blessing from elders.
After receiving her backpack, Nibi said, “It was a fantastic gift. Thank you!” Johanna, another little girl who got a backpack simply said, “Thank you, you’re very kind.”

Parents and event organizers agree that the program is an essential part of reducing the financial stress for families who cannot afford to buy the long list of supplies required at the beginning of the school year. The positive effect on the self-esteem and enthusiasm about going to school is immeasurable.