A Newcastle corporate financier joined the judging panel at this year’s Business, Accounting and Skills Education (BASE) competition, in which two North East schools reached the final.
Ryecroft Glenton partner Carl Swansbury was selected by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales (ICAEW) to judge in the competition which pitched 2,700 school pupils against each other.
The ICAEW BASE event involves teams from schools, colleges and academies from across England and Wales, who are set a complex business challenge that they must work together to solve, then present their findings to the panel of judges.
Forty-eight teams of six went through to the finals in Birmingham, including two schools from the North East, Whickham High School and Yarm School. The overall winner of BASE 2014 was Jersey College for Girls.
Mr Swansbury, who leads the corporate finance team at Newcastle-based Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance, said: “To get into the final of BASE is a phenomenal achievement.
“The students develop skills in team work, problem solving, processing and analysing data and are put under significant pressure, as they have six hours to prepare a presentation to deliver to the judges, as well as their peers.
“I decided to get involved in BASE as it’s so important that school leavers are given the opportunity to obtain a real insight into the world of work, and to appreciate what a ICAEW chartered accountant or business advisor does when they are looking at their options for university and employment.”
The BASE competition is organised by a large team at the ICAEW, and is part of the institute’s efforts to help young people develop the employability skills they need when looking to pursue a career in accountancy.
ICAEW executive director for Learning and Professional Development, Mark Protherough, added: “This was the biggest final of BASE yet and I was overwhelmed by the talent. Students came out of the classroom and into the boardroom and showcased the vital skills they need for business. By communicating, problem-solving and demonstrating financial capabilities, they showed just what interesting things chartered accountants can do.
“I want to congratulate all the finalists for what they achieved. They impressed some of the biggest names in the retail industry and accounting profession.”
The competition can also potentially help entrants secure a place on a school leaver’s programme, as it is used by a number of employers as a chance to spot emerging talent.
Swansbury has now judged at the national finals of the ICAEW annual BASE competition twice and has judged at the regional heats four times.
He added: “It’s a great opportunity for the students to meet and speak to influential business leaders and this year’s judges included people, such as Tom Mackay, Marks & Spencer’s international head of finance, and former BBC CFO, Zarin Patel.
“All the judges are qualified chartered accountants. It’s a privilege to be involved, as a judge and it’s rewarding to support the institute, as well as so many students and aspiring ICAEW chartered accountants.”