Ben Binnie: How joining the Grampian Area Network has supported my career
CA student, Ben Binnie, shares his story and how his involvement in the Grampian Area Network committee has supported his career as a young professional.
As a CA student, you’re kept busy with work and studies – and not to forget living your life. But beyond the assessments, there are many ways to get involved and be inspired with ICAS. The ICAS-member Area Networks is just one of them.
Getting more from the CA student experience
Ben joined ICAS in the middle of the global pandemic when the world was at a standstill. Gone were the days of physical classes, meeting peers in person, or casual post-class conversations.
Reflecting on that period of time, he said, “It was all online learning and exams, and I was thinking, ‘what is the benefit of this?’”
And then Ben came across a fellow CA’s story that caught his attention and inspired him to reach out. He wanted to understand how he could make the most of the CA qualification and his time with ICAS.
During this conversation, the ICAS-member Area Networks were highlighted to Ben as an opportunity to get involved. These are small, local communities within the wider membership, made up of students, newly qualified and members from all walks of the profession. They support local events, bring local members together, and provide ICAS with insight on the views of members.
“I’d heard all about the qualification being a passport, but it just felt like I was constantly doing exams. That was one side of my reason for joining the committee. On the other side, I wanted to start meeting others and getting involved in my community.”
Joining the Grampian Area Network
In May 2022, Ben reached out to then Chair of the Grampian Area Network and following a chat, he joined the Grampian Area Network.
When he first joined the committee, Ben experienced the common feeling of imposter syndrome.
But he quickly discovered how welcoming the committee was. It soon became a space where he could confidently voice his views and share his thoughts as a student.
Speaking about what he brings to the committee as a student, he noted, “I’ve tried to consider the student experience, and get students more involved in ICAS events. We had our ‘Meet the President’ event last year for example.”
Ben has also supported key member events, like the ICAS dinner, and developed ideas for more student-focused events.
Developing essential skills through networking
Opportunities to network don’t come up often as a student. But by joining committees and attending ICAS events, there’s plenty of opportunities to connect with like-minded people and learn from experienced CAs in your area.
Ben highlights, “It’s been great for me personally to learn how to network and talk to people. It’s a really good skill to have, particularly if you’re client facing in your role.”
Supportive CA community
From attending ICAS events and joining the committee, Ben has also discovered how willing people are to extend their support and offer guidance. “It’s nice to see how many people are willing to invest in you and show you where you can go with your qualification,” he said.
He also emphasised the unique access that ICAS offers to a wide range of people and organisations. “When I spoke to the previous Chair of the London Area Network, he stressed that there’s no other institute or qualification body as a young person that you can have access to so many different people and organisations, as you can with ICAS. So, I’d recommend getting involved.”
Joining your local Area Network
If you’re looking to grow your network and develop essential skills that will help shape your career, joining one of the ICAS Area Networks could help you to achieve that.
By getting involved, you’ll play a key role in representing students’ views and sharing feedback to those at the centre of the profession. You’ll also help to communicate key initiatives and provide insight into a calendar of community events.
If you’re a TPS or TPE student interested in joining an Area Network, please get in touch.
Please note: if the Area Network currently has student representation, you’ll be added to a waiting list and contacted when a space comes up.