Foundation finance event provides insights for pupils

robert-outram By Robert Outram, Editor CA magazine

5 November 2015

An ICAS Foundation schools event put financial careers in the spotlight for young people.

The only “secret” of success is commitment, dedication and hard work. That was the message from Bruce Malone CBE, former head teacher at St Andrew’s Secondary school, at a recent schools event organised by the ICAS Foundation.

More than 130 pupils from 29 secondary schools around Glasgow attended the event at Glasgow City Chambers, which was organised with the support of Glasgow City Council. The aim was to raise awareness of the opportunities that a career in finance can open up, including training as a CA.

Professor Mark Allison CA, ICAS Executive Director, Education, opened the event, speaking about the “huge range of opportunities and roles” open to young people in the finance sector.

He emphasised that this was not just in accountancy firms as many organisations have finance professionals working in them.

Mark also told the school students: “You don’t have to have an accounting degree – 70 per cent of the students currently studying for the CA don’t have a specialist accounting degree.”

Graeme Morrison, former Glasgow Warriors and Scottish Rugby international, explained why he is now studying for the CA qualification.

He said: “At school, my dream was to play rugby for my country, but after too many injuries I had to call it a day.”

Graeme revealed that he was not initially keen on the idea of CA training, but talking to people who had taken this career route helped change his mind, once he saw the opportunities that would be open to him. He is now training with The Royal Bank of Scotland as a CA and will be taking his final exams next year.

Linda Jamieson, Head of the ICAS Foundation, speaks to pupils at the event in Glasgow’s City Chambers

Linda Jamieson, Head of the ICAS Foundation, speaks to pupils at the event in Glasgow’s City Chambers

The event included five information sessions for the pupils to learn more about career opportunities, with presentations from: ICAS; ICAS Foundation; RSM; The Royal Bank of Scotland and Axa Insurance.

Other speakers also talked about how they chose their career route and the opportunities that it has created for them. They emphasised the day-to-day variety that can be found in a financial role.

As Catherine Devaney CA, TPE level controller with the ICAS Education Team put it: “Being a chartered accountant is not just about working in the office of an accountancy firm with a calculator.”

Chloe and Jennifer, from John Paul Academy, said that they had found the event “interesting” and “enjoyable”.

Ben, from Lourdes Secondary School, Glasgow, said: “Before this, I knew that accountants looked after people’s money and tax, but it’s been interesting to find out all the different things you can do in finance.”

The pupils also heard from Kaitlyn and Sean, two ICAS Foundation students, currently studying accountancy at university with the support of a bursary from the ICAS Foundation.

Sean said: “If you want to become someone, you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. Try to focus not on where you’re coming from, but on where you want to go.”

Bringing the event to a close, Bruce Malone said: Looking at the calibre of the young people we have here today, it’s impossible to be anything but optimistic.”

The ICAS Foundation helps make a difference to academically talented young people from disadvantaged communities by helping them take their first steps into a professional career in accountancy or finance. This is achieved through financial support, a mentoring scheme and internships that add important skills and experiences required upon graduation.

How to support the ICAS Foundation

Find out more about the ICAS Foundation. If you want to help more young people reach their true potential and enhance the nature of the accountancy profession please make a donation.


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