Al Rayan Bank (formerly Islamic Bank of Britain, IBB) is the UK’s only wholly Sharia compliant retail bank. The Bank has been pioneering British Islamic banking since 2004.
By solely focusing on banking activities which are in line with ethical and Islamic values, Al Rayan Bank is able to make a significant and lasting difference to 60,000 customers throughout the UK, helping them to save for their families’ futures, expand their businesses or buy their own homes, without compromising their beliefs.
It has branches and agencies throughout the country and currently employs 130 people.
Al Rayan Bank’s CEO, Sultan Choudhury was originally introduced to Mosaic by Shabir Randaree CBE, a former director of the Bank. Following this introduction, Sultan encouraged other people within the business to get involved.
Al Rayan Bank staff members are keen to participate in Mosaic’s mentoring programmes with employees actively encouraged to volunteer from all areas of the business from sales and marketing to HR.
All share their experience and knowledge with the young people they are assigned to though a range of activities, such as primary and secondary school mentoring programmes.
Some mentors from within the business like to get even more involved, offering further inspiration by speaking publicly at events, something that they might not have done before. Sultan Choudhury said:
“Every business is in a different position in relation to its ability to sponsor good causes. At Al Rayan Bank, which was very much in its first phase of development, the option to help through participation and time contribution was much more viable than through monetary means alone.
“Supporting and providing for charity is an important aspect in the life of a Muslim. As a Sharia compliant bank, Al Rayan Bank views charity as a key part of the Bank’s ‘business as usual’ activities.
“Al Rayan Bank is fully committed to supporting the communities that it serves and links with local schools are a key element of this commitment.
“The Bank also encourages staff to undertake personal development wherever possible and the Mosaic programmes are seen as key ways in which staff can develop themselves, as well as others, in areas such as coaching skills.”
Sultan is aware of the positive benefits that supporting Mosaic brings to the business and staff morale:
“Employees report that they find mentoring an extremely rewarding experience, this is supported by the fact that staff retention of those involved in Mosaic programmes is extremely high. Additionally, feedback from employees who have attended events has also been very positive.”
In addition to the current level of generous mentoring support provided by Al Rayan Bank, Sultan says that the organisation is always open to exploring how it might further develop its relationship with Mosaic initiatives, through extending mentorship to the international programme, for example.
Sultan is also a great advocate of the long term benefits of mentoring for staff and their individual development opportunities:
“The Mosaic mentoring programmes are a great way to encourage staff to develop new skills outside of the usual work environment. Mosaic events have proved to be a good place for the Bank’s employees to develop their skills, and network with other like-minded individuals and businesses.
“Working with Mosaic also provides an ideal opportunity for staff to relate to younger people and the community at large. It also forms a core part of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme.”
As a commercial organisation, Al Rayan Bank has many thousands of followers on social media and has used these channels to communicate its strong support for Mosaic, particularly the Enterprise Challenge.
Social media represents another vehicle in which corporate supporters can bring their experiences with Mosaic to life and share the positivity associated with mentoring with a wider audience.
As a committed Mosaic ambassador, Sultan Choudhury has one piece of inspirational advice to give to a young person that encourages hard work and success. He said:
“My advice to young people would be this. Whatever you ‘touch’ in life – try your best to leave it better than you found it!”
How some of Al Rayan Bank’s team members get involved with Mosaic’s mentoring programmes
Marklew Rice – Enterprise Challenge mentor
In 2014 Marklew mentored two teams at Harborne Academy in the West Midlands, followed by three weeks of extra mentoring as the team won the Regional Finals and competed in the Grand Final. Marklew attended this event with the team.
This year, Marklew mentored at Harborne Academy again and out of over 130 teams across the region, Harborne reached the Regional Finals and won, securing a place in the Grand Final for the second year in succession. The students came fifth place at the 2015 Enterprise Challenge Grand Final.
Julia Tarpey – Enterprise Challenge mentor
A Shireland Collegiate mentor for three years, whilst training for EC Julia established contact with Small Heath School and for the past two years has gone in to talk about the recruitment process in the Bank for A Level Business Studies, and has undertaken a role play interview session, giving students one to one feedback.
Sagheer Malik and Mustansar Rashid – Secondary school programme mentors
Both joined in 2012 and are now lead mentors. They hosted a mentor recruitment session at Al Rayan Bank’s head office in 2014, which resulted in 20 people attending, including the recruitment of Marklew.
Both have previously mentored at Kings Heath Boys and Saltley School and are currently mentoring at Waverley School. Held in high regard by their mentees and mentoring colleagues, Sagheer and Mustansar also attended the prestigious Mentor of the Year Awards at Sandringham House.
Other ways Al Rayan Bank has supported Mosaic
- Hosted a World of Work visit with Swanshurst Girls School.
- Sultan Choudhury, CEO, took part in a Q&A session at Enterprise Challenge Regional Finals in March 2015, providing inspiration for the students, parents and mentors
- Provided goodies for Regional Finalists prize bags for 2015 Regional Finals.