Portree’s CSM&Co grow their own workforce

ADVERTISING FEATURE: New year, new career

CSMCo trainees – Catherine MacDonald, Pamela McGuire, Phoebe Wildman, Robert Brown, Holly Cullen and Sian Falconer.

Where do you find qualified accountancy staff when you operate in a rural area such as the Isle of Skye? There is no ready pool of staff to draw from when you advertise job vacancies, so the answer is to grow your own workforce. That’s precisely what Campbell Stewart MacLennan & Co (CSM&Co) based in Portree have done. Training is vital to securing the future success of any business, and providing opportunities for young people to obtain professional qualifications whilst remaining in their local area is a significant development for rural Scotland.

A recent development in training in Scotland has been the creation of the Graduate Apprenticeship programmes offering school-leavers the opportunity to obtain an honours degree and professional qualification in a work setting without having to leave their local area. CSM&Co have successfully recruited a trainee for the Graduate Apprenticeship in Accounting through Robert Gordon University in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). The five year apprenticeship position has been taken up by former Portree High School pupil Catherine MacDonald who works four days a week in the firm’s Portree office and studies remotely one day a week for her degree. Once the degree course is completed after three years, Catherine’s studies will switch to the Chartered Accountancy training with ICAS with a similar work and study pattern continuing.

The firm’s Managing Partner, Faye MacLeod commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to secure the firm’s future by retaining talented young people in the local area so that we can continue to support our clients and local businesses for many years to come.”

As well as delivering the Graduate Apprenticeship programme, the CSM&Co is also training three staff through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and another two trainees are studying through the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Our ACCA trainees, Sian Falconer, Pamela McGuire and Phoebe Wildman are working towards becoming Chartered Certified Accountants and our AAT students on the road to becoming Accounting Technicians are Holly Cullen and Robert Brown.

Kerry Lyall, Training Manager for the firm said: “Whilst it involves more commitment as an employer to training staff, it’s also very rewarding to contribute to the development of young peoples’ careers. There have never been so many opportunities for workplace training that results in employers securing a highly qualified workforce as well as our hard working young people obtaining qualifications that in the past they would have had to move away from the area to achieve. I myself obtained my Chartered Accountancy qualification through CSM&Co and appreciate the value of such training opportunities.”

The trainees are part of an 18 strong team at CSM&Co and their colleagues support them in their development. The team at CSM&Co include four Chartered Accountants, a Chartered Tax Adviser and a Chartered Management Accountant and an Accounting Technician/Tax Technician who not only support the firm’s clients with their expertise, but also their colleagues who are working towards professional qualifications.

We are always happy to speak to anyone interested in finding out more about a career in accountancy.