Sanjay Singh reveals the ICAS Foundation's 2023-30 strategy
ICAS Foundation Director, Sanjay Singh, introduces its Strategy 2023-30, which sets ambitious goals to boost social mobility and help even more young people into the profession
The ICAS Foundation recently launched its new strategy which aims to see us support even more people from low-income and challenging backgrounds into an accountancy or finance-related degree. Helping to kickstart the careers of those students is vital, not just for ICAS, but for the future of the profession and the wider economy – because CAs are needed and add value across every sector.
ICAS Foundation Strategy 2023-30 is the culmination of six months’ work to examine where we’ve succeeded since the foundation was established in 2013 – and where we can do better. We have set out clear objectives that align with "Together, we will", ICAS' 2030 strategy, launched earlier this year. It will see us expand our strategic partnerships, support more young people, increase our volunteer mentor pool, work with more firms to secure high-quality internships, encourage more members to donate – and significantly raise the profile of the ICAS Foundation.
Above all, our goal is to improve social mobility throughout the profession. As Rebecca, who is currently doing her CA training, says: “Attending university at all was an impossible thought, let alone achieving a first-class honours degree. Being backed by the ICAS Foundation helped turn my aspirations into reality. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received.”
Who we are
The ICAS Foundation provides bursaries, grants, mentoring, internship opportunities and practical support. We invite applications from young people right up until the moment they graduate, helping them to perform to their best potential. We support every young person on the programme for up to four years with tailored support, helping them get ready for further professional training, with a focus on a career in accountancy and finance.
The four strands of our work
1. Nurturing Talent programme
Ongoing support for up to four years – bursary funding, personalised mentoring, securing internships and graduate jobs. Providing practical support including interview skills, CV writing, employer engagement, confidence building and inspiring speakers.
2. Emergency assistance
One-off financial support for students who face particular challenges.
3. Schools, colleges and universities
Helping schools, colleges and universities promote the ICAS Foundation programme to their students.
4. Partnerships with purpose
Partnering with firms to offer a high-quality internship programme and employee volunteering mentor scheme. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is at the heart of our offering, ensuring firms have access to the very best candidates, helping them to create a diverse workforce fit for the future.
- To support and increase social mobility, ethnic diversity and gender diversity in students studying accountancy and finance at university.
- To help promote ICAS and the profession to a more diverse audience and thereby enhance its reputation and accessibility.
- To give young people access to additional support through mentoring, financial support and work experience opportunities.
- To allow the profession to give back through socially responsible actions that engage a more diverse range of students for the next generation of CAs.
Strategic growth: Our three priorities
1. Support more students, better
We will sustain and improve the quality support we provide, scaling up our award-winning programmes and reaching more people around the world, in line with ICAS’ existing membership and 2030 strategy
2. Support more firms to achieve their social mobility and EDI goals
We will widen access to the profession, increasing diversity and effectiveness by raising our profile as a recognised leader in promoting increasing social mobility and good EDI practice in the sector.
3. Strengthen our sources of support
We contribute to all ICAS’ strategic aims, boosting EDI and social change and mobility. We will continue strengthening our links with ICAS and its members while developing further sustainable sources of support.
View the ICAS Foundation Strategy 2023-30 in full
Social diversity: Who we support
Income: 100% Low-income householdes (*Low-income households defined as those with an annual income below £34,000)
Gender: 57% female, 43% male
Ethnicity: 35% non-white (*non-white or non-UK background), 65% white
Area: 41% of the students we support came from the 30% most deprived household areas in Scotland
Young people from households with an annual income of under £20,000 accounted for between 73% and 83% of ICAS Foundation students between 2017-2019.
In 2022, these students accounted for only 46% of ICAS Foundation new starts. This may indicate that people from lower-income households chose not to start university because of the cost-of-living crisis beginning mid-2022. Our support will be even more vital for such young people in the future.
Be part of Foundation 25
Over the course of the next few months 25 people, including ICAS Deputy President Alison Cornwell CA, will be undertaking personal challenges to raise £1,000 each to support the ICAS Foundation. Together, they will comprise Foundation 25.
Although they will each encourage family and friends to donate, there is also a secondary target in which at least 10 of their sponsors will be CAs from their personal networks. So collectively they hope to raise £25,000 and engage 250 CAs.