Tolu Akinyede, Dorothy Chan, Davina Gami, Bhumi Kanabar, Nikita Naik and Ariana Rahman were the post-GCSE students who most impressed the judges this year after a business presentation.
The final followed 43 regional competitions involving around 500 students across the UK.
ICAEW’s business and accounting competition involved a fictitious challenge where the students were asked to act as ICAEW chartered accountants, focusing on key employability skills to develop business advice for a media organisation and delivered this to their board of directors.
The winning team each received £500 and will take part in a champions’ day at Chartered Accountants’ Hall in London. They have also secured a full-day employability skills workshop for their school.
Speaking after the award, the group from North London Collegiate School said, “Winning the top prize is just surreal and so unexpected. We just came to have some fun and we ended up winning it.”
The girls said they delegated different tasks to everyone during the challenge and then put all the different information together before the presentation.
“It was [very] time-pressured but we kept going. We’ve gained the capability of staying calm under pressure and learned how to communicate with each other."
Asked about what they were going to do with the money, they said they were going to “save up, invest a bit and spend the rest” but might go “on a bit of a shopping spree”.
Maidstone Grammar School received the runner-up championship prize, with participating students winning £100 each.
The second place winners were Ella Collie, Sam Jeffery, Charlie Luxton, Matt Piper, Will Terry and Allen Wesson.
Five other schools received a high commendation award for their work during the presentations. These were Brine Leas School, St Joseph’s College, Royal Latin School, King’s School in Chester and Bristol Grammar School.
Paul Aplin, ICAEW’s deputy president said, “I was impressed with all the finalists who took part and would like to congratulate the winners who stood out to some big business names with their bright ideas.
“I am certain that the BASE final will be just the beginning for these business-savvy students and I hope they will continue to benefit from the contacts they have made and the skills they have developed during the competition long into their future.”
Aplin added that students should not lose sight of the importance of developing these skills outside of the classroom.
He also encouraged businesses to continue to find opportunities like BASE to connect with the next generation of talent.
During the full-day event, students had the opportunity to meet with a number of tuition providers and employers including BDO, Deloitte, EY, PwC, RSM, KPMG and Crowe Clark Whitehill.
The competition judges this year were the BBC, British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Crowe Clark Whitehill, EY, Emma J Perry & Co Ltd, First Intuition Bristol, Fox International, Grant Thornton, ITV, Inter Milan, Lionsgate Films, PwC, Radio & Music Production, RDF West, Rolls Royce, Sky plc, Sofar Sounds, Training Counts.
Gillian Curle, financial controller, said, “I was extremely inspired by the champions at the BASE final. The finalists had a unique opportunity to act as chartered accountants for the day and gained first-hand experience of working as a team to formulate strategic business advice and present their ideas to the judging panel.
“The winning team demonstrated fantastic ideas and insight and did a brilliant job of communicating their findings to the judging panel.”
Brian Boswell, charity trustee and ICAEW member, said he started BASE 10 years ago in a bid to attract students to the profession.
“I remember that when I was at school I felt I had very little careers advice. Years later, even though I couldn’t help schools to teach students about every career, I could showcase the ICAEW qualifications,” he told economia during the event.
In its first edition, BASE included 14 teams. A decade later, 500 teams have now signed up to the competition.
“We now know that a lot of the people who attend the competition do become chartered accountants. But those who don’t also create a brand awareness that might be helpful in their future careers,” he added.
Boswell said that pupils learn “quite a lot about themselves through the competition in terms of time management, team working, leadership and presentation skills, all of which wil be very useful in whatever they do in the future”.