ICAEW and accountancy firms engage with Shadow Treasury Minister
On 13 September 2019, ICAEW organised a roundtable focused on social mobility. Attendees included Oxford East MP and Shadow Treasury Minister, Anneliese Dodds, and accountancy firms PwC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte and Grant Thornton - who kindly hosted the event at their Oxford office.
The event was chaired by ICAEW’s Chief Executive, Michael Izza, and each firm had two representatives; a senior staff member and a young person who had benefitted from social mobility initiatives within the firm.
Anneliese Dodds MP, whose father was a Chartered Accountant, had asked Michael Izza ‘what the profession was doing on social mobility?’. This was an opportunity to answer the question in a very practical way, enabling young people who were beneficiaries of social mobility within the firms, to speak for themselves. It was an inspiring event, with personal stories of struggle and progress, highlighting that the profession had been active in supporting social mobility.
Each firm highlighted their own social mobility activity and the importance of these issues as an expression of their values. Deloitte outlined their BrightStart scheme, which ensures academic requirements and selection processes are accessible to all those with the ambition and potential to succeed. PwC spoke about their five year, five point action plan aimed at advancing social mobility, including measures such as 1,000 paid work experience places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Meanwhile KPMG delivers an annual employability road show ‘WorkReady’, which reaches over 2,000 year 9 and 10 students across the UK. Grant Thornton have also reviewed their approach to trainee recruitment and now have flexible academic entry for all programmes, with the Head of Diversity and Inclusion part of the strategic leadership team. EY has a Foundation which supports young people from low income households into education, work or enterprise – in 2018 over 1,000 young people were supported.
During the roundtable discussion, Anneliese heard impressive stories from young people about significant progress in the workplace, some of whom had links with her constituency.
Monique Malcom-Hay, one of ICAEW’s Diversity Champions said: “It’s great to see ICAEW taking action to encourage social mobility in the profession and I’ve enjoyed speaking to students from a range of backgrounds at a number of ICAEW events.”
Thao Bui, ICAEW’s Global Student Recruitment Manager said: “It’s fascinating to hear what has been done to improve social mobility by the largest chartered accountancy firms, As the professional body, ICAEW wants to support the achievement of much more”.
This event was a fantastic opportunity for the profession to highlight the great work that has already been done, and think about what more can be done to ensure the profession is seen as an accessible career for all.