Sixth formers had the chance to experience life in public finance during a demanding day that saw them tackle protests, press and politicians.
Teams from schools across the Midlands came to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) for the event which was organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and supported by DMU alumni and lecturers.
Students took part in a management team game designed to give an understanding of the challenges and pressures faced while working in the public sector.
As part of a borough council management team, they had to balance the budget despite Government funding cuts and job losses. During their day they faced a visit from their local MP, an angry trade union Official and a call from the press responding to rumours of their intended plans.
The winner of the event was a team from Ashby School in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
The students took to their task with considerable focus and commitment and for most of the day a workmanlike buzz ensued around the excellent facilities provided by De Montfort University.
The students from all the sixth forms and colleges were a great credit to the organisations that they represented, putting in a considerable amount of effort during the day, despite the challenging interruptions that were planned for the day.
Many of the students enjoyed their day experiencing public sector finance and a number commented on what had they had learnt in their feedback. One student commented how this had been a “new experience” which had had a positive impact on his consideration of an accountancy or finance degree and how he was now more likely to consider that kind of career.
A student from one of the other teams said he was now keen to work for a local authority.
Students and qualified CIPFA accountants were on hand to guide the sixth form students and were very impressed by the composure of the sixth formers under significant pressure and the standard of work that they produced throughout the day.
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Fred Mear, associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance, also spoke about life in the public sector finance giving career tips and advice. Chris Gill, the lead volunteer for this game, said: “This CIPFA management game is an excellent experience for local students to understand the way our public finances are managed and the difficulties our finance teams have in choosing between competing and often equally important priorities.
“The students involved today were very focused on undertaking the tasks in hand; they remained engaged throughout the day and hopefully will have taken much away from the game that will be useful for their future careers and general development.
“This country needs the best managers to be running our local authorities and other public services and perhaps some of these young people are the public sector finance directors of the future.”
The game, devised and run by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), is intended to help fill a gap in Business Studies courses, which tend to concentrate on commercial activities and often do not cover the public sector in any way.
Posted on Tuesday 25th June 2019