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Are you the Difference Maker Undergraduate of the Year?

Chartered Accountants Ireland are searching Irish third-level insitutions to find a student who is making a real difference. This could be in their local community, at home, as part of a sports club or committee, or through college clubs and societies- you get the idea!

We are looking for students who are making a real impact in any area they are passionate about – that could be sustainability, charity work, mental health, gender equality – the list goes on.

Check out the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide – you could already be contributing to any of these 17 great causes without even realising.


The lucky winner will gain a ‘Career Kick Starter Package’ including:

  • 1-2-1 mentoring with a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland who is working in a sector that is related to you/your difference making work
  • CV & Interview prep with industry experts
  • Plus €/£1,000 cash towards your degree (college fees, accommodation, travel).

All finalists will be offered two hours mentoring with a member in an industry of interest to the student, e.g. an entrepreneur, a member working in sustainability, etc.

To enter you need to:

  • Be an undergraduate student at a university, institution or college in Ireland
  • Be an undergraduate in your final or penultimate year of study at third level
  • Be an undergraduate student who is contributing to a good cause (under the umbrella of the UN SDGs)
  • The award is open to students from all universities and degree disciplines

What makes an award winner?

An award winner will have the same qualities we look for in our #CharteredStars. Each year, Chartered Accountants Ireland selects one of their current students or members to represent them at the international One Young World (OYW) summit. The annual OYW summit brings together 2,000+ of the brightest young leaders from every country and sector, working to accelerate social impact both in-person and digitally. Delegates from 190+ countries are counselled by influential political, business, and humanitarian leaders such as Justin Trudeau, Paul Polman and Meghan Markle, and many others to harness the knowledge and skills needed for being impactful change makers.

Meet our 2022 Chartered Star Fiona Smiddy, and our four shortlisted finalists.

How do I win?


Register your details online and answer one question set by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Must be completed by 30.01.23.

Online tests

Receive an email inviting you to sit two online tests designed exclusively by our partner, SHL.

Must be completed by 30.01.23.

Submit by 30.01.23

Your details must be submitted and all online tests completed by 30th January 2023.

If you are successful in getting through to the next stage, you will hear from us by the end of February.

Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests and successfully make it to the next stage, your application will be reviewed by Chartered Accountants Ireland.

This will involve an informal 20-minute phone interview.

Grand final

The final shortlist of ten students will be invited to the awards ceremony on the 13th April 2023, where the award winners will be announced!

Chartered Accountants Ireland and the Difference Maker Undergraduate of the Year Award

Chartered Accountants Ireland (the Institute), is the longest established accountancy body on the island of Ireland. It educates over 7,000 students annually, and now has over 31,000 qualified members on this island and around the world, working in all sectors.

The Chartered Accountancy qualification (Associate Chartered Accountant – ACA) is open to students from all disciplines and offers an international business leadership qualification. Students can earn while they learn as they work full time and study part time.

Our members are making a difference daily using their qualification – and we want to champion 3rd level students who are making a difference in their own ways. We are partnering with the gradireland Undergraduate of the Year awards as we want to support students on their journey to making the world a better place. We want to encourage and inspire difference makers at all levels.

All finalists will have the opportunity to engage with senior leaders within our membership and gain support from our team of Career Development experts to support students in their future career endeavours.

Visit our website to find out more about studying to become a Chartered Accountant.