He may be used to being interviewed by journalists and government ministers, but NatWest CEO Ross McEwan faced a challenge of a different kind earlier today when he lined-up to be quizzed by a group of teenagers at a Welsh high school.
The NatWest boss was taking part in a special Q&A with GCSE and A Level business studies students at Llanwern High School in Newport, South Wales. And the aspiring entrepreneurs didn’t hold back with a series of gruelling questions about money, banks and the financial sector.
Joined by their business studies teacher James White, the 28 students spent an hour asking questions in their classroom with Ross. They included Year 12 student Sian Hopkins, 17, who asked what the bank was doing to support pay equality.
“We had a great time interviewing Ross,” the 17-year-old said. “I think at first we were all a little bit nervous, but he was really down to earth and showed us a lot of respect. It was really interesting learning about the financial sector and good to know that the bank is working so that more women hold senior roles. I think it’s important there are more female entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
The get-together was part of a two-day visit to South Wakes by the NatWest chief executive. He is also meeting with local businesses and stakeholders to talk about NatWest Cymru’s work supporting over 5,000 businesses in the region as well as its education projects like MoneySense, which is helping children and young people towards a better financial future.
“It was a great experience taking part in the Q&A with the students. They didn’t hold back and put forward some challenging and well thought out questions that underlined not just their confidence, but their understanding of business and the financial sector. It was very impressive to see and be a part of. The students have a very promising future ahead of them and I’m looking forward to learning how well they do in their exams.”
James White, business studies teacher, said:
“It was a fantastic experience for the students and we’re very grateful to Ross for spending time with them. He didn’t rush and was very attentive to all their questions, which is why the students enjoyed it so much. It was definitely a day they won’t forget.”