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London mayor backs initiative to offer young people careers in the City

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Some of Britain's leading investment firms have today launched "Investment 2020", an initiative to help offer hundreds of young people from diverse backgrounds a first job in the City of London.

The scheme has been backed by London mayor Boris Johnson.

In 2013 the employers, which include: BNP Paribas, Cazenove Capital, First State and M&G will offer a total of over a 100 newly-created 12-month paid trainee roles primarily to school leavers and recent graduates, regardless of background and education.

Investment 2020 trainees will be given the opportunity to gain experience across all areas of business, including marketing, IT, infrastructure, operations and investment.

At the end of the year the trainees are expected to have the experience and business knowledge to seek a full time role, either within the employer they have been training with or another City firm.

Each of the employers will offer different programmes and by 2020 the ambition is that the scheme will offer at least 2,020 roles per year across the investment management industry and other financial service providers.

Johnson, said: "This is an excellent scheme that will give hundreds of young people the chance to get their foot in the door at some of London's leading investment firms.

"By learning the ropes as Investment 2020 trainees they will get an invaluable chance to build their CVs and boost their long-term chances of securing top jobs in the City."

Investment 2020 is the brainchild of chief executive at global investors Henderson's, Andrew Formica who has been running the scheme at Henderson for the last three years. Over this time 95% of its trainees have found full time roles.

Formica said: "Our firms are on average receiving 50 applicants per role, 25% more than three years ago.

The Catch 22 is that 50% of recruiters say they will only hire someone with work experience, and often only from an education at one of a small group of universities. But how can most young people in Britain get that work experience if they haven't been to one of the top universities."

He added: "We want to look at what individuals can offer in the future, not just what they have achieved in the past."