TRANSITION year students of St Flannan’s College are ‘banking’ on continuing last year’s success in the AIB Build a Bank Challenge. Last year the school made it to the regional finals of the competition, and by all ‘accounts’ this year’s efforts are also on the money.
The six students have been running their own school bank, with the support of the AIB, while also learning about managing their own business. This year’s banking team at the school involves Gerard Kennedy, manager; Cian Murphy, assistant manager; Jane Fitzgerald, financial controller; Nina Koistinen, sales and marketing executive and Michael Ryan and Colin Reidy, both customer care representatives.
According to 15 year-old Nina, more than 60 students at the school have already opened up an account with the school bank, with that figure expected to grow even more.
The challenge sees a team of six students selected to set up and manage a bank in their school, getting involved in everything from sourcing new customers and opening accounts to encouraging regular savings and exploring new ways to bank.
The regional finals will take place in Cork next February, with the St Flannan’s students hoping to do as well, if even better, than last year.
“From the amount of people who turned up for the launch and who have signed up for accounts we are delighted with how well it has gone so far. There has been a great response in the school. We’re hoping to do well in the regionals and maybe go onto to the national finals,” added Nina.
For this year’s challenge, the St Flannan’s students chose to focus on the benefits of technology when it comes to banking. They have set up their very own ‘techsavers’ facebook page, are on instagram and have been promoting internet and phone banking, as well as debit cards.
All of the students agree that they have had a positive experience taking part in the challenge.
Michael Ryan believes that getting involved will help them all in the future, giving them an insight into the business world.
Jane added, “It’s also given us more confidence when it comes to speaking to people, and it has been great working as a team.” Both Gerard and Cian agreed that the support of the local AIB bank in Ennis has been integral to the success of the challenge, with the students receiving full training for their positions.
“Along with our teacher John O’Connor, Yvonne Hobbs and Emer Hough from the bank have been great. They come in and sit with us every week and have been a real help,” said Gerard.
According to a spokesperson for the bank, the challenge allows students to “develop key business skills, marketing techniques and customer service skills, all of which will help them in their future careers. The challenge will have a positive effect on the whole school. Having a bank on site introduces students to the world of banking and encourages them to plan for their future and give them sound money management skills.”