Powerful message to inspire young people is served up by Bloodhound Project at ICAEW dinner

April 27, 2018

The innovative Bloodhound project to build the world’s fastest-ever car is inspiring young people to pursue careers that use maths, engineering and technology, the region’s business leaders have been told.

Nearly 400 chartered accountants and guests from across the business community gathered at the annual ICAEW West of England annual dinner last week heard how the Bristol-based project is much more than simply a bid to break the 1,000mph barrier and set a new world land speed.

Bloodhound driver Andy Green, pictured left, told the event that the project was harnessing the best of the West of England’s innovation, including its Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, as it prepares for the record attempt in South Africa in 2020.

This in turn was inspiring young people of all ages to get involved, he said, with 130,000 schoolchildren across the UK already engaging directly with the project.

ICAEW West of England president Jonathan Snary told guests at the dinner, held at Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium, that Bloodhound had been chosen as this year’s event charity because of its vital role in encouraging the next generation of professionals.

“The project is an excellent example of what engineering, maths and science can achieve, which is fundamentally not only the fastest car in the world, but one which puts Bristol and the UK firmly on the map for engineering excellence,” he said.

“It’s been a pleasure to support them and we hope the money raised goes further to reach more and more young people so that their great work continues to inspire the next generation.”

The ICAEW deputy president Paul Aplin echoed Jonathan’s encouragement of harnessing talent and explained it would be a key focus for him as he becomes president in June.

“We must encourage the most talented people, irrespective of background, to join our profession,” he said.

“By investing in them, embracing the potential of digital technology and ensuring we think internationally we can, together with our colleagues in other professions and in business, help to create a world of stronger economies.”

In the afternoon before the dinner, Jonathan Snary, ICAEW committee member Rick Sturge and dinner headline sponsors Swindon-headquartered regional law firm Thrings and professional indemnity brokers Brunel Professions visited Hambrook Primary School in Bristol to hear Andy Green speak to more than 150 children aged between seven and 11 about his team’s historic record attempt, pictured right.

Thrings managing partner Simon Holdsworth said business leaders had a responsibility to inspire the next generation of accountants, lawyers, financial directors and referrers.

“While our own organisations might not deal in jet and rocket-powered cars, we, as employers and business leaders in the financial services and legal services arena, have a responsibility to follow Andy’s lead and inspire our own teams,” he said. 

“The success of Bloodhound’s record attempt hinges on the hard work and commitment of a number of talented people, including many from the South West. Our region is rich in talent and innovation, and it’s our duty to enthuse, motivate and harness the skills and talents of our young people who are the leading entrepreneurs, accountants and lawyers of tomorrow.

“The pace of political and economic change in this country – against the backdrop of Brexit – seems to be higher than ever. And nowhere is this more the case than in the financial services and legal sectors, where change is being driven by advances in technology, competition between firms, reporting and changing client needs.

“Brexit, general elections and the actions of overseas governments are outside of our control, but the onus remains on the business community to react, adapt and respond to challenges in order to maximise commercial opportunities and meet clients’ business needs.

“Collaboration between the legal and financial services communities is also arguably more important than ever. It is essential that we all continue contributing to, and strengthening, the South West economy while inspiring and propelling the next generation towards successful and rewarding careers.”

Brunel Professions head of retail broking Jon Filer was also enthused by his school visit earlier in the day. He said: “It was clear the children were really engaged and transfixed with what the Bloodhound is and its goal. It’s so important that we as local businesses appreciate and nurture the talent we have on our doorstep.

“Children are our future entrepreneurs and professionals, and we need to do all we can to support them to fulfil their potential to ensure the region continues to go from strength to strength.”

The dinner concluded with a light-hearted presentation and sideways look at management-speak from former Guardian ‘Office Politics’ writer Guy Browning, pictured above.

Pictured, ICAEW presidents and sponsors pose in front of the Bloodhound supersonic car ahead of the ICAEW dinner. From left: Simon Holdsworth, Thrings managing partner; Andy Green, Bloodhound Project; Jonathan Snary, president, ICAEW West of England; Paul Aplin, president, ICAEW; John Ashley, president, ICAEW South West; John Stout, president, ICAEW Thames Valley; Andrew Lloyd, president, ICAEW Liverpool; and Howard Freeman, president, ICAEW Sheffield 


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