ICBC Standard Bank (ICBCS) is a joint venture between the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Standard Bank Group, specialising in Commodities as well as Emerging Markets and serving a global client base from four international offices.

The bank’s unique and distinctive Chinese and African heritage, brings diversity to its business and creates a common value set across its 850+ employees that brings these two cultures to life.

ICBCS chose Grant Thornton and Babington to deliver a collaborative and dedicated programme underpinned by the Apprenticeship Levy, in order to support its Finance junior talent pipeline and to offer professional development opportunities to its Graduate Analysts.

The challenge

Prior to ICBCS’ relationship with Grant Thornton and Babington, its Finance Graduates had shared feedback that there was a siloed approach among those that were studying towards their professional qualifications, and that they would have benefited from more engagement and encouragement from each other during their programmes.

The aim of the Bank’s Finance Graduate scheme is to create a highly-skilled pool of Finance staff with cross-departmental knowledge and to grow the next generation of Finance talent at ICBCS in house.

For this purpose, obtaining a professional qualification through ACCA or CIMA is seen as necessary to further career progression and professional development, which in turn requires quality support.

“We were looking for a credible partner and high-quality programme provided under the Apprenticeship Levy to provide accessible support, one-to-one coaching and a cohort of support for participants to achieve their maximum potential and results. The Babington and Grant Thornton partnership was a unique proposition offering a leading accountancy training programme alongside the opportunity to gain industry and ‘real world’ experience.”

Jo Larman, Head of HR Business Partnering and Learning and Development

The solution

Grant Thornton and Babington were able to offer cohort style, streamlined, and flexible programmes which balanced work and study requirements.

The course splits work and study across an 80:20 ratio, respectively. Study content ranges from learning the basics of Accounting and Finance, to Operations, Management, and Strategy.

Facilitated through a unique range of tools, such as revision bootcamps, face-to-face workshops, and case studies, graduates have the opportunity to study towards either the ACCA or CIMA professional qualifications.

Throughout the three-year programme the graduates in Finance have the opportunity to rotate within the various Finance divisions such as Product Control, Management Information, Treasury, Financial Reporting, as well as Regulatory Reporting and Change. This allows the graduates to gain a well-rounded experience of the areas in the Bank’s Finance department and the Bank benefits from a generalist pool of knowledge being developed within ICBCS.

“It gives you a lot of real-life skills that can be a bit more practical. A lot of it is management-related: developing skills for when you start to progress through your career to more senior ranks.”

Graduate, Treasury and Capital Management

The result

ICBCS currently has 23 graduates enrolled on the Level 7 Accountancy Professional course – all displaying positivity and enthusiasm towards the programme.

The Apprenticeship Programme was integral in ensuring the quality of study support to best prepare students to succeed in their exams and the overall efficient running of the educational aspect of the Finance Graduate scheme.

The programmes have both been described as “well-structured” and “well-run” due to clear offerings and regular opportunities to interact with other graduates and experienced industry professionals from Grant Thornton and Babington. Additionally, the support received from both Grant Thornton and Babington and ICBCS managers has been noted as exceptional.

One of the main attractions to the programme is the unique proposition of the Grant Thornton and Babington offering to the graduates, providing on the- job experience in addition to the academic and technical knowledge and expertise congregated through study.

Talent Solutions helps you deliver the right skills to support your future success and growth. ​

We’ve leveraged our connections with a select group of training providers to co-design and co-deliver development programmes: from leadership and management to accountancy, coaching, and data skills.

Ruth Walsh

Ruth Walsh