CA Magazine September 2023 - Elevating Expectations (Strategy)

ICAS Foundation Director, Sanjay Singh, introduces Strategy 2023-30, which sets ambitious goals to boost social mobility and help even more young people into the profession

sanjay singh

The ICAS Foundation recently launched its new strategy which aims to see us support even more people from low-income and challenging backgrounds into an accountancy or finance-related degree. Helping to kickstart the careers of those students is vital, not just for ICAS, but for the future of the profession and the wider economy – because CAs are needed and add value across every sector.

ICAS Foundation Strategy 2023-30 is the culmination of six months’ work to examine where we’ve succeeded since the foundation was founded in 2013 – and where we can do better. We have set out clear objectives that align with ICAS 2030, the new strategy which was launched earlier this year. It will see us expand our strategic partnerships, support more young people, increase our volunteer mentor pool, work with more firms to secure high-quality internships, encourage more members to donate – and significantly raise the profile of the ICAS Foundation.

Above all, our goal is to improve social mobility throughout the profession. As Rebecca, who is currently doing her CA training, says: “Attending university at all was an impossible thought, let alone achieving a first-class honours degree. Being backed by the ICAS Foundation helped turn my aspirations into reality. I am extremely grateful for the support I have received.”


The ICAS Foundation provides bursaries, grants, mentoring, internship opportunities and practical support. We invite applications from young people right up until the moment they graduate, helping them to perform to their best potential. We support every young person on the programme for up to four years with individualised support, helping them get ready for further professional training, with a focus on a career in accountancy and finance.


  1. Nurturing Talent programme Ongoing support for up to four years – bursary funding, individualised mentoring, securing internships and graduate jobs. Providing practical support including interview skills, CV writing, employer engagement, confidence building and inspiring speakers
  2. Emergency assistance One-off financial support for students who face particular challenges.
  3. Schools, colleges and universities Helping schools, colleges and universities promote the ICAS Foundation programme to their students.
  4. Partnerships with purpose Partnering with firms to offer a high-quality internship programme and employee volunteering mentor scheme. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) is at the heart of our offering, ensuring firms have access to the very best candidates, helping them to create a diverse workforce fit for the future

Be Part of Foundation 25

Over the course of the next few months 25 people, including ICAS Deputy President Alison Cornwell CA and CEO Bruce Cartwright CA, will be undertaking personal challenges to raise £1,000 each to support the ICAS Foundation. Together, they will comprise Foundation 25.

Although they will each encourage family and friends to donate, there is also a secondary target in which at least 10 of their sponsors will be CAs from their personal networks. So collectively they hope to raise £25,000 and engage 250 CAs. Find out more here.


  • To support and increase social mobility, ethnic diversity and gender diversity in students studying accountancy and finance at university.
  • To help promote ICAS and the profession to a more diverse audience and thereby enhance its reputation and accessibility.
  • To give young people access to additional support through mentoring, financial support and work experience opportunities.
  • To allow the profession to give back through socially responsible actions that engage a more diverse range of students for the next generation of CAs.

social diversity graph


  1. Support more students, better We will sustain and improve the quality support we provide, scaling up our award-winning programmes and reaching more people around the world, in line with ICAS’ existing membership and 2030 strategy
  2. Support more firms to achieve their social mobility and EDI goals We will widen access to the profession, increasing diversity and effectiveness by raising our profile as a recognised leader in promoting increasing social mobility and good EDI practice in the sector.
  3. Strengthen our sources of support We contribute to all ICAS’ strategic aims, boosting EDI and social change and mobility. We will continue strengthening our links with ICAS and its members while developing further sustainable sources of support.

View the ICAS Foundation Strategy 2023-30 in full on our website.

financial diversity graph


The ICAS Foundation was set up in 2012, since when it has supported over 300 young people from low-income backgrounds studying an accountancy or finance-related degree by facilitating mentoring and making awards of £2.2m, with maximum bursaries of £10,000 over four years. More than 40% of ICAS Foundation students come from the most deprived areas in the UK (as measured through deprivation indexes) and 68% have progressed into CA trainee roles.

The ICAS Foundation is a registered Scottish charity No SC034836.

You can support the work of the ICAS Foundation by donating, volunteering to mentor a student or providing an internship or work placement. You can also contact us to discuss a specific area where you would like to help.

This article was originally published in the ICAS CA Magazine, September 2023.