AAT ‘speed dating’ kick starts apprentice careers

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has welcomed approximately 25 young people and 15 major accountancy employers to its Barbican office for a ‘speed-interview’ event, designed to facilitate potential placements

The event gave the young people the chance to spend eight minutes each meeting with recruitment professionals from leading accounting firms including Grant Thornton, BDO, Haines Watts and BKL. It is expected many will now progress to gaining work experience and full employment with the companies who attended.

Meta Versluys, assistant HR manager, BKL said: ‘We recently had three people from LTSB join us along with three graduates. It’s important to us that we get a mixture of vocational and academically qualified employees in our firm.

‘One of the many benefits of hiring school leavers on apprenticeship schemes is that they start on a lower salary level than graduates, although on a minimum of the London living wage, and take longer to reach the chartered accountant qualification as they continue their studies. As a result, they can deliver different client work compared to our graduates, which is commercially useful for us as a business.’

The young people are all taking part in the leadership through sport and business (LTSB) apprenticeship scheme, a social mobility programme designed to help 16-21 year olds from underprivileged backgrounds access careers in high-level business and finance, whilst developing transferable skills with leading football club foundation partners.

Caroline Adair, CEO, LTSB said: ‘An apprentice from the first cohort of apprentices at the Tottenham Hotspur foundation has this month become a chartered accountant at just 23. He is a classic example of someone who has been all the way through his social mobility journey and has already arrived at the top – even though he still has his whole career ahead of him.’

Martin Hanratty, head of UK account management at AAT, said: ‘AAT has worked closely with LTSB for the past six years now, supporting them across their work with football clubs in various local communities.

‘The work of LTSB plays to the AAT values of giving everyone an opportunity to better themselves and get a career, and so many success stories have resulted. The partnership has been fantastic.’

Over 430 individuals have been helped over the past seven years through the scheme, which works closely with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea, West Ham United and Aston Villa to provide coaching, mentoring and leadership skills for the participants while they undergo an accountancy apprenticeship.

Report by Pat Sweet

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