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Rowing together to build a stronger profession

Watching how it is possible to widen access to sport, LSCA President Helen Brennan urges chartered accountants to do the same for the profession, starting with BASE, the ICAEW school business challenge.

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Helen Brennan

December 2018

As LSCA president, I’ve focused on how we London-based chartered accountants can thrive in interesting times. Chartered accountants are experts in leading businesses through such times - identifying and managing risks, ever ready to take opportunities, collaborating to achieve the common good and investing always in relationships.

I was reminded of the possibilities opened up by collaboration strolling by Fulham Reach, primarily a housing development, built and financed by private developers. Permission to develop the riverside was granted on a number of conditions, one of which was the provision of a community boat club.

Residents in the new development can purchase membership in order to use the facilities out of hours. But during the working day, the club’s facilities are available to local schools, and now 11 out of 12 state schools in the borough provide rowing to their pupils.

Efforts to widen access to sport are needed as some sports, including rowing, remain dominated by the independently educated, so there is more to be done.

In the same vein, ICAEW has done and continues to do great work to widen access to the profession and much of this is also a collaborative effort. BASE, ICAEW’s National Business and Accounting competition for students in school or college aged 16-17, was created to provide school and college students with a taste of what it’s like to work as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. Since its launch in 2009, more than 13,000 students have taken part.

The success of BASE – and in particular, its success in widening access to the profession - depends on ICAEW members and ACA students volunteering to take part as mentors, providing expert advice and guidance to the students taking part.

School mentors needed

At present 42 schools have signed up to take part in BASE 2019 in London. We want to ensure we can offer a mentor to all schools taking part in BASE for the first time and also to those schools which have a higher than average percentage of students entitled to free school meals. That means that 18 schools need a mentor – but we don’t yet have 18 volunteers.

If you can spare a day to attend training and half a day to visit a school, you can help us find the next generation of ICAEW Chartered Accountants. You’ll be engaging with students from a range of backgrounds, including some who may never have met a chartered accountant before, and helping them develop their key skills from communication and organisation to resilience and commercial awareness.

This is one of many times when we can achieve so much more together, as a profession, than any individual member or member firm can achieve alone.

Read about volunteering as a BASE mentor.

Helen Brennan is LSCA President.

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