How you can Bring the Classroom Closer to the ‘Real World’ of Employment

  • How you can Bring the Classroom Closer to the ‘Real World’ of Employment
  • How you can Bring the Classroom Closer to the ‘Real World’ of Employment
  • How you can Bring the Classroom Closer to the ‘Real World’ of Employment
  • How you can Bring the Classroom Closer to the ‘Real World’ of Employment

Many people now believe that an effective education should go beyond achieving good grades, that it should also focus on what happens afterwards, creating a successful transition from education to employment.

The impact of the Gatsby benchmarks

Since Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Charitable Foundation identified eight benchmarks that represent what an ‘effective careers service’ looks like, there has been an increasing amount of pressure on schools to ensure students are as prepared as possible for the world of work.

These recent developments now indicate a shared responsibility between careers services and teachers. This responsibility extends not only to providing an abundant amount of information about possible career options, but also to enabling young people to develop the skills they need to achieve overall career success.

Teachers are now looking for ways to enhance the existing curriculum so they can achieve this as easily as possible; let’s not forget this comes as an addition to their many other responsibilities.

Introducing BASE

That is where BASE comes in. BASE is ICAEW’s national business and accounting competition for 16-17 year olds. Number 4 of the Gatsby benchmarks discusses being able to link the curriculum with careers.

As Sharon Spice, Global Director of Student Recruitment at ICAEW explains, “BASE has been designed specifically with this in mind; to support teachers in delivering the learning outcomes of the existing curriculum and PSHE studies.

It provides a unique environment for students to experience the world of business, without the need to take them out of school.”

She continues: “In 10 years, BASE has supported over 18,000 students from a wide variety of subjects and backgrounds in developing a complete range of business skills to take them forward to the next stage of their career.”

How BASE works

Simple and free to take part, BASE is an online team-based challenge for problem solvers and big thinkers. With the option to run in school time, or as an extracurricular activity, BASE offers the flexibility required to manage other day-to-day activities, while providing students a taste of a professional environment.

Should you decide to run BASE during class time, a detailed two-hour lesson plan with learning objectives is provided.

Students begin by taking part in an online situational strengths game as a team of up to four. This presents students with a range of business scenarios a chartered accountant may experience during their career. After each scenario, the students then need to choose how they would respond from a list of multiple-choice answers.

Following this, the students put together a five-minute presentation based on the previous task, which they will deliver via an online platform as if it were to a live audience.

Students are able to receive crucial feedback from their performance which is an excellent resource for personal development.

The two tasks give students a comprehensive insight into the world of employment, requiring them to critically analyse businesses in realistic scenarios and provide strategies for improvement.

Alongside this analysis, teams also need to demonstrate the softer skills required in all careers such as teamwork, communication and decision making, creating an all-encompassing learning experience for each student that takes part.

Fiona Banks, Head of Business and Economics at Sir Thomas Rich’s school confirms: “BASE is a really good opening into the way of work and the real-world environment. I think it’s a great experience for all students and it brings to light the diversity of careers in accountancy.”

First-hand engagement with employees


Recent research carried out by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Careers Enterprise Company, noted that employer mentoring was one of the top three most successful methods used to educate students about careers, a philosophy also shared by ICAEW.

Number 5 of the Gatsby benchmarks agrees, and highlights the need for students to have multiple opportunities for encounters with employers and employees. All schools new to BASE will have the opportunity to receive mentoring during the competition from a qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountant or ACA student.

George Acquah, Marine Finance Manager at Rolls-Royce notes: “Student entrants into the workplace tend to focus on academic achievement, which is to be applauded.

However, whilst this is important, and right for students to focus on this, it is equally important to understand how a workplace operates. Gaining exposure to employees provides the edge that many students are looking for to get in and progress in the workplace.

Participating in BASE is a fantastic way to gain insight into work-related skills which will benefit any career.”

Celebrating success


With BASE, students are learning in one of the most interactive and engaging ways possible, while competing with fellow students across the UK.

The top 48 teams who take part in the online challenge will come together at the National Final in Birmingham, where they will compete in one final challenge to be crowned BASE National Champions. The winners will also walk away with a MacBook each, and a suite of iPads for their school.

BASE is about developing, demonstrating and celebrating the everyday skills demanded of our future professionals. Because of this, prizes are also awarded for a variety of expertise including integrity, critical analysis and commercial awareness.

These are sponsored by employers and consist of work experience, lunch meetings with senior employees and more.

With work-related learning in cooperation with employers also featuring in the top three most successful methods noted by the CBI and the Careers Enterprise Company, it’s no wonder that teachers across the UK are eager for their students to be involved with BASE.

How you can join them?

Registrations for this year’s BASE competition are now open and teachers can enter as many schools and teams as they like. Register your school today at icaew.com/base to bring your students one step closer to the real world of employment. Get in touch by email at base@icaew.com.

For more information contact Laura Pont on 01908 248 347 or laura.pont@icaew.com.