City academy can boost prospects of those most in need

THE City Academy Hackney, sponsored by the City Corporation and KPMG, opened its doors to 220 pupils last week. The opening took place just two days after a City report presented a scenario that suggested a further 35,000 financial services jobs could be lost by the end of 2009. This begs the question of what can be&nbsp; gained by investing in schools when we are not out of the financial crisis. The short answer is &ndash; a lot.<br /><br />By investing in our young people we are investing in the future. We are conscious of the need to invest in people and skills so that we are able to fully benefit from the recovery when it comes. But we must also be mindful of investing in the talent on our doorstep. For many young people living on our fringes who may even be able to see the City&rsquo;s iconic buildings from their homes, it appears beyond reach as a place to work &ndash; the &ldquo;ring of steel&rdquo; for some feels like a wall of steel. Despite the recent downturn, the City is still a place of great wealth and opportunity and I am more conscious now than ever that we must not turn our backs on the areas on our doorsteps. It is absolutely right that the City of London Corporation as a public body should be using our resources in this way on projects aimed at raising achievement. <br /><br />The City Academy Hackney is a joint project between the City Corporation and KPMG. It has a particular resonance for me &ndash; my father taught for 25 years in a previous school on the site. The City brings to the table its expertise as an excellent education provider &ndash; knowledge which has been built up over centuries, while KPMG has an established culture of volunteering in local communities and will share the breadth of skills and knowledge available within the firm. We both have high hopes for its future, after all, the City&rsquo;s dragon symbol stands for excellence. <br /><br />Students who started last Thursday were visibly excited about their new school with its state of the art facilities and enthusiastic teaching staff. The Principal has rightly set ambitious targets for the school, but he recognises the challenges ahead. Despite being less than three miles from the City&rsquo;s borders, the Academy is located in one of the most deprived boroughs in the whole of Europe. <br /><br />For both KPMG and the City Corporation this Academy (the City&rsquo;s third) represents a major commitment to investing in these students. We hope it will provide opportunities for future generations of children to achieve success in the wider world of work. <br /><br />Ian Luder is the Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation.