Aimed at 16-18 year olds BASE links schools, students and employers together in a bid to, not only to increase awareness of a career in business and finance, but to also develop key employability skills in the future workforce. Assuming the role of chartered accountants, the students had less than three hours to analyse, discuss and decide on the next steps of a fictional organisation (Fletchers Ltd) before presenting their ideas to a panel of business professionals in a room with five other schools. 

The event, which took place on Wednesday 25 June at The Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham, followed over forty regional heats (involving over 2700 students), which saw sixth form schools and colleges from around the UK compete to be in with a chance of reaching the grand final.  Congratulations to our winning team: Lindsay Young, Emily Bain, Hannah Paton, Amy Meeks and Eva Hurst.

The BASE competition is billed as the ultimate business challenge and the JCG team, through applying the knowledge, skills and experience that they had gained so far, needed to show determination, business excellence and creativity. The BASE competition is supported by local Birmingham firms who provided professional mentors and judges. In addition students and teachers were given the chance to hear first-hand accounts about the range of career options chartered accountancy can provide. The JCG team were pleased to have the support Nicola Davis (BPP Birmingham) acting as a mentor for the team.  

The judging panel included:

  • Tom Mackay, Head of International Finance M&S
  • Liz Rylatt, Executive Director, Finance, Operations and Members
  • Carl Swansbury, Director – Corporate Finance Ryecroft Glenton

The students were filmed whilst they gave their 8-minute presentation and impressed the judges. The leading teams from the 7 other syndicates were compared by the head judges. 

The girls had the opportunity to revel in their achievement at the celebration dinner in the evening. With a delicious three-course dinner, award ceremony and evening entertainment, there was much to look forward to.  Shortly before 10pm, Zarin Patel, ex-Chief Financial Officer for BBC, awarded JCG the prestigious title of the ICAEW Base 2014 National Winners. In addition to being crowned national BASE champions, the JCG students each received a cash prize of £500 towards their education and a visit to Chartered Accountants’ Hall in London, where they will enjoy a celebratory lunch and the chance to meet and interview ICAEW Chief Executive, Michael Izza.   Sixty students at JCG will also benefit from a full day employability skills workshop, lead by head judge Angus Farr (Director Training Counts) to be held at JCG later this year. 

Commenting on their win Adam Sykes, Employability and Enterprise Coordinator at Jersey College for Girls, said: ‘This was JCG’s second consecutive year at the national final. We are immensely proud of our students for taking the top award. One of the greatest moments of this competition was observing the blend of skills as the students worked together in preparation for the national final. The JCG team shone because they really played to their strengths, be that research, numbers or presentational skills. Team JCG had the BASE Factor!’ 

Principal, Carl Howarth, said: ‘This is a tremendous achievement for our students. We are delighted that their talents and abilities were recognized at a national level beating off competition from across the country.’  

During the evening dinner JCG had the pleasure of the company of Brian Boswell, who was the founder of the competition. He explained that the purpose of the competition was to give students a real insight into the world of work and provides them with important and informed careers information. We certainly feel that the JCG team benefited a great deal from their participation in this competition and are grateful for ICAEW for this opportunity.