Students in Lancashire are being offered the chance to pursue a career in accountancy and other job opportunities in a mentoring programme by accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers.
The scheme with BCHS (Blackburn Central High School) saw 17 students in year eight selected for mentoring by staff at Beever and Struthers with students continuing to meet their mentors three times a year to raise their aspirations, confidence, self-esteem and achievements until they graduate in 2022.
Specific elements of the Beever and Struthers’ initiative involve:
Lunch and learn - Beever and Struthers’ hosts two events per annum and invites other professional intermediaries from sectors such as banking, law and financial consultancy to attend, so pupils receive advice on other potential careers. This element covers what and who the firms are, their relationship with the educational institution and why it’s important to identify what an individual requires in qualifications and personally to become a trainee accountant;
Work experience - Beever and Struthers offers a work placement itself and potentially with selected clients;
Mock interviews – The firm stages mock interviews and a review of CVs - so pupils are more socially aware of what will be expected of them prior to leaving school for further education or for a work environment.
Other than its expertise in general accountancy and business advice, Beever and Struthers has expertise to offer students in 14 specific sectors:
- employment agencies
- innovation, communication and IT
- insurance and financial
- legal and professional
- manufacturing and engineering
- motor and transport
- property and construction
- social housing
- sports and leisure
- wholesale and retail.
The mentoring programme is part of a commitment by Beever and Struthers to ‘give something back’ to the communities in which it operates, with many of its 18 partners and 170-plus staff involved with charities and schools as trustees, governors and volunteers and the firm proactively contributing to society via community, sponsorship, charity, skills and employability initiatives.
Andy McLaren (pictured right), training partner with Beever and Struthers, said: “Our research of mentoring opportunities for students in Lancashire showed that BCHS was a school where we could become a mentor of students to help in the development of key employability skills, while nurturing academic excellence. Buoyed by the ongoing success of our partnership with BCHS, we are keen to promote accounting as a career to students at schools, colleges and universities where there’s an opportunity to raise awareness academically, technically and ultimately, with a focus on employability.”
Jo Rigby (pictured left), HR director with the firm, said: "Recruitment is becoming more difficult year on year, not just because of a shortage of candidates in some areas but also a difficulty in finding the right candidate. At Beever and Struthers we like to grow as much as we can from within and the apprenticeship programmes are an ideal way for us to achieve this. We have for some years offered finance-based apprenticeships, but we also offer apprenticeships in some of our support functions – IT, marketing and office admin to name a few. Partnering with BCHS in this way allows us to raise awareness that we are more than just a finance firm and also helps the students understand their potential career options and the skillsets we are looking for."