A sporting chance at a finance career
Imagine getting the opportunity to become an ACCA member via an apprenticeship with a reputable company, while learning professional skills from Premier League football clubs.
Social mobility charity Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) partners with Premier League football club foundations and education providers to help young people develop personally and professionally and then place them in apprenticeships with leading employers across the UK. Apprenticeships that lead to the ACCA Qualification are an option for people who find employment through LTSB.
‘At LTSB we want firms to represent the best from all backgrounds, so that means looking for talent where it’s likely to be overlooked,’ said LTSB CEO Paul Evans. ‘Our pipeline draws from schools and colleges, but also other third sector organisations who have great young people to champion, and from our beneficiaries too. It’s a real indication of the value we provide that there’s a steady stream of family and friends who see the transformative impact of our work, and want to get involved.’
How does it work?
The aim of the game is to prepare these young people for professional life by giving them the skills and confidence to succeed and to make them attractive candidates to employers. Over the years LTSB has developed a good understanding of the barriers to successful career paths that some disadvantaged people face, such as lack of opportunity, generations of unemployment, adverse life events, class boundaries or lack of social capital, and preparation young people need for the working world.
It also knows full well the level of ambition and ability to deliver at the highest level that its cohorts possess, but which needs support and nurturing to translate into job offers and work-readiness.
‘That preparation and support is the vital contribution that LTSB makes to the raw ability our beneficiaries represent,’ said Evans. ‘Our programme doesn’t make them smarter — they were smart when we met them — but it gives them the personal and professional development required to navigate an alien culture, a working environment often very unlike anything their family has experienced before.’
LTSB’s bootcamps vary in length dependent on programme, but all share the focus of employability skills, critical thinking and confidence: making the young people practically ready from the first day, developing their voice, and championing their abilities so they think of their careers in terms of what they can do and what they can learn to do.
‘The only bit left is getting a job and keeping a job, which is where most employability charities leave beneficiaries to go it alone,’ continued Evans. ‘But we work as an active intermediary with our committed employers, finding best-fit candidates and working through the process to ensure a well-prepared interviewee and, critically, a well-prepared workplace too.
‘Our Working Together training helps employers create socially mobile workplaces, and our continued pastoral support for the first year of the apprentice’s career means we’re there for both parties to support integration.’
Sport has a number of functions in LTSB’s programme. Firstly, giving the young people a fun environment with a cohort of friends as they transition into adulthood and working life. Secondly, by using sport to strengthen the cohort, they gain a network that can continue to serve them for the whole of their careers. Lastly, sports coaching, which is the experience and qualification they gain, is all about transferable skills, especially communication: clarity, concision, specificity of feedback, modelling excellence, as well as developing the confidence to take charge, and make decisions.
'We’re proud to have some great Premier League football club foundations working with us nationally, which are incredibly important community charities in their own right. They deliver aspects of our bootcamp and enrich the programme with match day or volunteering experiences,’ said Evans.
‘With partners like West Ham or Liverpool FC foundations, who are deeply embedded in their communities, our apprentices act as ambassadors for hard work and positive outcomes - potentially inspiring the next generation of business leaders on the astroturf, rather than in a classroom.’
ACCA and LTSB case study
Ross Radford, finance director at independent investment consultant Redington, took on one of LTSB’s 2017 cohort apprentices, who has now progressed from AAT Level 3 to ACCA
‘LTSB provide a fantastic foundation for young people looking to start their careers. We attended some of their speed interview sessions and were impressed by the level of support and the quality of their apprentices,’ said Radford.
'We were fortunate to have one of their stars Kevser join our finance team in March 2018. She joined at a time of significant change and has taken that in her stride and become an invaluable member of not just the team but the firm as well. It’s been a pleasure working with her and watching her grow and develop her skills, having transitioned from an apprentice following successful completion of her AAT level 3, to a permanent employee working towards qualifying as a chartered certified accountant with ACCA.’
LTSB in numbers
2019 Boot Camp
- 99 young people in four cities
- 77% BAME
- 32% female
- 92% completed
- Two out of three young people placed in an apprenticeship
- Average salary fo £17.6k — £10k+ more than apprenticeship minimum salary
- 90% completed their first year