UBS has partnered with Teach First since 2004. The financial services firm’s support has been notable not just for its longevity, but also for its focus on one of London’s most deprived boroughs — Hackney.
For over 25 years UBS has targeted funding and the commitment and skills of their employees at schools in Hackney, helping it to become one of the most improved boroughs. Their aim is to increase the attainment, skills and aspiration of people in the borough.
To this end, the firm provides funding for every teacher that we place in Hackney schools. They also encourage members of staff to work as coaches for our participants and ambassadors, helping them overcome difficulties they encounter in their training or teaching, and aiding them with their longer term goals.
The focal point of the partnership is the Bridge Academy in Haggerston. The school was founded in 2007 with UBS’s support, and as a Teach First partner school it has around 20 participants and ambassadors in teaching or leadership positions.
The range of support UBS provides for the academy is enormous, with almost 500 activities in 2013 alone. Six Managing Directors are Governors of the Academy; every Bridge Academy sixth former is offered a UBS mentor; hundreds of volunteers support workshops and placements that develop work-related learning or subject-specific skills; and each week 50 employees go to the school before work to help with essential literacy and numeracy. Between 2007 and 2012, over 3,600 UBS volunteers delivered more than 37,500 volunteering hours to the school.
The backbone of all of UBS’s work in Hackney has been its commitment to supporting our teachers, both through funding and through coaching and mentoring. As the company’s chair Richard Hardie wrote in February, “Good teaching is the single most important factor in transforming the life chances of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” We’re thrilled to continue to work with UBS to improve prospects for disadvantaged young people in Hackney and throughout England and Wales.