In conversation with Ibrahim Mogra.

On the 3rd May 2019 theology students from Rippon College Cuddesdon and Ebrahim College East London descended on to the Wharf! They were here to attend a special day organised by Canary Wharf Multifaith Chaplaincy in collaboration with Barclays. We are most grateful for Barclays hosting this event and providing the speakers. The aim of the day was to immerse Christian and Muslim trainee faith leaders within the corporate world to experience the world of their potential parishioners and congregations. The training was not about how to be a chaplain in this environment or about what chaplaincy does in Canary Wharf. Rather, it was to give the students food for thought for them to go away and theologically reflect on what they learnt and how they could equip their respective flocks to serve God in the work place and in the world.

Sixteen students from different backgrounds took part. The day began with an introduction to Barclays and to banking in general. They heard about the history of banking; past, present and future. The session on ‘green’ and ethical banking was fascinating as was hearing about the growth in the ‘green industry’ and ‘green finance’, green banking products, green bonds and indeed blue bonds.

They also heard about how Barclays supports members of staff through their Embrace Network in helping people to bring their whole self to work. The Barclays Intensive Life Skills programme with accredited online resources for schools and everyone was of particular interest. They were impressed by the two days paid leave for staff to help and volunteer within their communities and the partnerships with charities for Life Skills for the 25+ age groups.

The accessibility for customers and safeguarding them from their vulnerabilities was also fascinating; talking ATMs and in some cases home visits.
They had a chance to listen to the story of one female member of staff and the progress she has made and now occupying a very senior position within the organization successfully bringing her whole self to work with all her different identities and values.

To end the day, they looked at the future of banking and the role of AI and FinTech companies. They had opportunities to ask questions ranging from shutting down of local branches to the potential impact of Brexit.

Throughout the day the students were treated to teas, coffees, pastries, fruit and a delicious vegetarian lunch.