The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has unveiled a new £7 million programme to help support communities and organisations across Scotland. The Royal Bank 300 Fund was set up to mark the bank’s 300th anniversary in 2027 and will see the bank invest £1 million a year, for the next seven years, into projects designed to make a positive impact for people working and living across Scotland.
It will focus on key areas of the Scottish economy including climate change, enterprise and financial capability.
The first partnership to be announced is with Glasgow University’s John Smith Centre for Public Service. The collaboration will see 300 young people, aged 17 – 27 from all walks of life and from across Scotland, taking part in a 12-month programme aimed at creating employment opportunities and developing networks, as well as helping to promote the importance of respectful, civilised disagreement. The programme will include:
· A weekend at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s business school at Gogarburn, where an intensive programme of workshops and lectures from the country’s leading politicians, business leaders, public servants, journalists and change-makers will be combined with opportunities to network and socialise.
· A 70-hour paid internship programme with a politician, business or non-governmental organisation.
· Membership of the John Smith Centre AlumiNetwork – a peer to peer network for people who have completed John Smith Centre programmes – ensuring legacy and feedback.
· The aim is for each young person to leave the programme with a new peer group of like-minded people; each with an understanding of public service and how politics and business can be a force for good. Their minds and horizons will hopefully be broadened by meeting people from different backgrounds with different beliefs which they have explored in a tolerant, respectful but challenging environment.
Further announcements of partnerships supported by the 300 Fund will follow over the coming months and will focus on areas key to the Scottish economy including climate change, enterprise and financial capability.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP said:
“The passion and enthusiasm that we have seen in recent years from the younger generation for politics and vital issues like climate change – subjects previously deemed to be too complex or uninteresting for them to engage with – has been hugely inspiring.
“I am proud that our young people have a desire to make the world we live in a better place and are willing to take action, whether that is engaging politically or with specific campaigns close to their hearts.
“This programme is an exciting new way for young people to engage with the world they live in, to broaden their understanding of public service and business and meet others with similar interests but not necessarily similar viewpoints. It is a great opportunity to promote civilised and evidence led debate, something which we should all encourage more of to help build the young leaders of the future.”