Bankers + Lawyers = A Good Combination (yes really!)

Hey there!  I’m Kuldip Kaur, a third seat trainee in the Birmingham office.  I started my training contract a year ago with all the usual nerves and excitement that one would expect.  My first seat was in the Corporate department and then in September I moved to the Banking and Finance team.  Eagerly anticipating the prospect of working closely with the Banking team; being given a huge amount of responsibility for my work, and an opportunity to enhance all sorts of valuable transferable skills – I started work in the department with high expectations.  Having just completed the seat, I can say with some authority that these have been exceeded. 

My reason for blogging today however, is not to talk about my overall experience of life as a Banking trainee, (I think I’ll leave that for another time) – it’s about the fantastic corporate responsibility (CR) initiative that I was involved in whilst in the department.  Alongside one of our top clients, Barclays Bank PLC, we built a Barfuss Garden at The Dame Ellen Pinsent School – a school for children with learning difficulties.

Barfuss is the German word for barefoot and a Barfuss Garden is a path constructed of different materials, such as textured paving slabs, logs and Astroturf.  The idea is that the children walk barefoot along the 20 metre sensory path, to experience the feel and sensation of the different materials under-foot, which will hopefully assist with their learning and development. 



A lot of planning and project management went into preparing for the initiative.  There were meetings with representatives from Barclays, on site visits to the school and arrangements made for the tools and materials to be delivered.  Having ditched our suits and ties and left our BlackBerry’s at home in favour of forks, spades and wellies (this was how The Birmingham Post described our efforts), the end result was pretty impressive.  I must admit, having lifted heavy tiles, helped wheel cement from one spot to another and carried buckets full of stones – I couldn’t move the following day because of all the aches and pains!  However, it was all incredibly worth it!

The initiative was a great opportunity to market the firm, build a long term relationship with Barclays and strengthen ties with the community.   Personally I found the experience thoroughly rewarding and satisfying.  There was also a great sense of team spirit knowing that we were helping the children (in our own little way), by constructing something that they would benefit from for a long time to come.  The message I want to leave you with is that being a trainee at PM is definitely not about being chained to your desk, making cups of tea for fee earners or photocopying – there is much more on offer to get involved in!