AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) 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, hosted at AAT’s Barbican offices on Tuesday 19 February, 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.
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.
Kalum Blanks, 22, from West Ham, said: “The session was a bit nerve-wracking at first, not really knowing what to expect. It is 100% going to help me moving forward; I’m learning how to break the ice and in a real interview situation I’m going to feel more comfortable and calm.
“It’s important to talk about what you do outside of work so they get a feel for your personality. One of my interviews was just like having a good conversation as we found common ground.”
Oyin Ojediran, 21, from Lambeth, said: “This is my second speed interview event and the practice has really helped me improve my approach towards new people. It was crucial learning to take a breath and think about what I really wanted to say.
“It’s also important to be yourself, I think employers really value candidates who can offer a fresh perspective as it sets you apart from other candidates.”
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.
Caroline Adair, CEO, LTSB said: “This event is good for the employers and also for the young people, who increasingly recognise that holding an AAT qualification is like a passport to access a career.
“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, 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.