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Opinion26th June 2015

Taking our Bank of America Merrill Lynch Partnership to New Heights

Students and volunteers recently transformed the ground floor of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s London offices into a construction zone, working furiously to build free-standing bridges. At an event held 24 June, students in groups of seven relied on their maths and teamwork skills to design and create structures that spanned a gap of at least 120cm and reached a height of the same measure.

Katie, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee and volunteer reflected: ‘It started off with lots of individual ideas, but everyone came together and managed to build really good bridges.’

Guest judges Ian Wace, Chairman of Ark, and Martina Slowey, Head of AMS Europe and International Prime Brokerage for the bank, picked the winners based on how well the teams met the design brief, identified mathematical shapes within the structure and worked effectively as a team.

The event was part of an on-going partnership between Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Ark’s Mathematics Mastery programme. The bank has generously supported Mathematics Mastery with donations to date totalling over £750,000. This support is helping the programme expand to reach even more students with its innovative teaching framework. Over the next five years, this funding will help the programme reach an additional 500 schools and over 300,000 pupils across the UK.

The partnership is also building lasting, impactful relationships as Bank of America Merrill Lynch employees will volunteer with Ark schools on an ongoing basis. These interactions present a valuable opportunity for students to see first-hand how a strong foundation in maths can lead to a future career.

Andrew, an Ark Bolingbroke Academy student, praised the experience: ‘We got to meet intelligent people and learn from them.’

Ishika, a student from the winning team, added: ‘The volunteers were really fun and took our ideas seriously.’

A recent study commissioned by the City of London on corporate volunteering programmes found that these kinds of opportunities aren’t only beneficial to the students involved: three-quarters of employees surveyed said that volunteering increased their motivation and pride in the business. Nearly all respondents agreed that they would recommend volunteering to a colleague, and repeat the experience.

Nick, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee who helped steer the winning team, said: ‘I love working with children and getting them into Maths, so I really enjoyed the event and they seemed to have fun too!’