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An East Renfrewshire school has reached the final of a competition giving pupils the chance to hone their financial skills.

Mearns Castle High School achieved the feat in Scotland’s Investment Challenge, which sees S5/6 pupils working in teams to grow a virtual investment fund, making decisions on what to buy and sell based on their own research and incoming news stories.

The competition is sponsored by the Securities Services business of BNP Paribas in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Global Investor Simulations.

The teams from Newton Mearns will compete with pupils from Bearsden Academy and Inverclyde Academy when they visit the offices of BNP Paribas in Glasgow for the regional final on 14 December.

The competition supports the Developing the Young Workforce strategy and forms part of SDS’s Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Financial Services sector. The Plans’ goals include providing engaging and relevant experiences such as the Investment Challenge, and giving pupils enriched exposure to the world of work.

Laura Wilson, Financial Services Sector Manager at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The Investment Challenge is an excellent opportunity for young people to see the type of activities they could be involved in with a career in Financial Services. The competition also helps promote the development of meta-skills, especially sense making, curiosity, critical-thinking and communication. SDS is here to support industry and schools as they continue to engage in these kinds of initiatives, which help develop young people’s future career pathways.

Linking young people with employers is hugely important as they consider the various career pathways available to them, so the support of BNP Paribas is fundamental to the competition being a success.”

Over 1,100 pupils from 26 schools took part in the competition using the online business simulation Finance Lab, with volunteers from BNP Paribas visiting schools to meet teachers and students and talk about opportunities in the sector.

Mark Daisley, Head of Client Delivery (UK, Middle East and Channel Islands), Securities Services, BNP Paribas, said: “This competition gives us the opportunity to promote the wide variety of careers the financial services sector has to offer. The enthusiasm of pupils for the competition across the country has been striking and we are looking forward to welcoming them to BNP Paribas for the final.”

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