“I loved that it gave me a detailed overview on what accounting is, pathways to get into and opportunities it offers you.”
“[I loved] the webinars where I gained an insight on the career paths of ICAEW professionals and I got to learn about the day in the life of an accountant.”
“ I enjoyed the webinars discussing the different routes people took to get into the accounting profession.”
More than 10% of the world’s chartered accountants are members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). The organisation works with governments and businesses and monitors more than 12,000 global firms, holding them to the highest of standards. ICAEW strives to make accountancy and the businesses it works with sustainable. It was the first global organisation to go fully carbon neutral, supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 13.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) had two complementary core aims for its work experience programme. It sought to demonstrate roles within accountancy and routes into the profession, but also include elements that would bolster core employability skills.
By demonstrating the scope of modern accountancy, ICAEW was also seeking to boost its own brand awareness among students.
In an industry where women are underrepresented in higher-paid roles, it wanted to encourage talented young women to engage with the course and also for there to be a wide mix of students by background, location and ethnicity.
While most students will have a broad understanding of some aspects of accountancy work, we knew from conversations with ICAEW that the full scope and range of roles within the industry would surprise many. This assumption would be proven correct when we asked students to fill in pre-programme questionnaires.
The first task, therefore, was to create a compelling initial module that would demonstrate the true scope of accountancy in the UK and beyond, how it has grown in importance and how it is now a sector with a huge range of roles available.
A second module looked in depth at accountancy in business and the importance of managing money - with activities on managing change and critical analysis, terms that might appear overwhelming at first but would be confidently tackled by those nearing the end of the programme.
With the help of ICAEW employees generously giving their time, we were able to build a third module that focussed solely on live sessions with those working in different accountancy roles. Many questions were asked including, fittingly, some about pay!
In the final module students learnt the art of writing cover letters and creating a compelling CV, though set within the context of applying for accountancy roles, it built skills that will be of use in any industry. This was further bolstered by the ability to add a certificate to the skills section of their CV showing they had completed the programme.
Among an initial cohort of more than 650 students, primarily in years 11 to 13 female students accounted for 55%, with 44% male and one percent preferring not to say. Two thirds (67%) came from BAME backgrounds, with 24% white and 9% either of another ethnicity or preferring not to state. More than a quarter, 27%, were eligible for free school meals.
Gender: Male 44%, female 55%, prefer not to say 1%
Ethnicity: Minority Ethnic67%, white 24%, other or prefer not to say 9%
27% of the cohort were on free school meals.
A key aim for ICAEW was to increase awareness of accountancy roles and on this metric the results were outstanding. All students said they had at least ‘good’ knowledge in this area - doubling the pre-programme 50% mark.
With this knowledge, 88% said they were likely to consider a role in the industry, an increase of 20%, and 40% were ‘very confident’ they would find employment in future, a fourfold increase.
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