BKL and LTSB: continuing a rewarding relationship

We were delighted to win three awards from Leadership Through Sport & Business (LTSB) last month: two for members of our team and one for BKL as a whole. Here’s why these awards mean so much to us.

Who are LTSB?

LTSB are a growing social mobility charity, providing support to talented young people who, without LTSB’s help, might otherwise not realise their full leadership potential.

As their name suggests, this partly involves sport. Training as community coaches with LTSB’s football club foundation partners enables candidates to gain skills including planning, communication and motivating others.

What about the B in LTSB? At the same time as studying for AAT accountancy qualifications, candidates take 18-month paid apprenticeships with employers in the financial services industry. Many of those employers offer them permanent positions and careers. We’re proud to be among those employers.

Apprentices of the year

LTSB held its latest graduation ceremony in July, for its 2017/18 intake. Two of its Apprentice of the Year awards went to people who work at BKL: Vasilena Mladenova (LTSB’s East London cohort) and Bilshan Mensah (LTSB’s North London cohort).

The awards were presented by Sir William Atkinson, leading educator and LTSB patron. As Bilshan was abroad, his award was accepted by Meta Versluys from our HR team, who was named Outstanding Diversity and Employment Champion by LTSB in 2018.

LTSB’s criteria for these prestigious awards include:

  • A leader who helps and inspires others within the cohort
  • Excellent commitment to apprenticeship studies
  • An excellent employee who makes a difference at their place of work

Vasilena describes winning the award as “overwhelming – getting recognised for the work I’ve put in to develop myself and show my potential was a great feeling.”

Bilshan, commenting on how his apprenticeship led to his award, says, “After completing AAT Level 2, I joined BKL through the LTSB programme. BKL and LTSB have worked together for several years, so I knew they would understand how to help me to make the most of the opportunity.”

Employer of the Year

To complement Vasilena and Bilshan’s successes, we received LTSB’s Employer of the Year award for 2019.

Caroline Adair, CEO of LTSB, explains how we earned the award:

“Social mobility, diversity and inclusion are priorities for many organisations we work with but there are none who embrace this so wholeheartedly and effectively as BKL.

Since we started our charity in 2012 to address the social injustice that prevents bright diverse young people from disadvantaged backgrounds accessing careers with major firms, BKL has provided life changing apprenticeship opportunities and first-class training to young people.

The staff at BKL have always understood the needs of the young people and have encouraged them to participate in all our enrichment and networking activities and embraced the support we provide during and after they have graduated from our programme.

We are delighted to present BKL with our Employer of the Year 2019 Award in recognition of their outstanding engagement and the positive impact they have had on the lives of so many young people, their families and communities. Thank you, we could not do our work without you!”

Jeff Hartstone, our senior partner, says, “Like LTSB, BKL is committed to putting people first: helping them to develop in meaningful roles so they can make a difference to our firm, our clients and our communities. Vasilena and Bilshan have exemplified that and are highly deserving of their Apprentice of the Year awards. We hope they’re as proud of their achievements as we are.

“Winning LTSB’s Employer of the Year award is a source of great pride too. It shows how all of us at BKL have supported LTSB and their vision since the charity started.

“We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to work with LTSB. We will continue to do justice to them by working together to invest in outstanding people.”

This photo, taken earlier in 2019 for PQ Magazine, shows several of the 14 colleagues who’ve come to us through LTSB, including Vasilena and Bilshan.

To find out more about the opportunities we offer to apprentices and trainees, take a look at our graduate/school leaver hire page.



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

Jon Wedge

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.


Elana joined us in 2017 as an ACA trainee, after graduating from Durham University where she had studied languages. She is now a manager in our assurance team.


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