As an AAT apprentice, Millie-May’s time is split between her working role for Apogee Corporation and studying at First Intuition Maidstone.
Currently, she is working towards the AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting qualification during her apprenticeship. Mille-May works for Apogee Corporation (a subsidiary company of HP) based in Kent since 2021.
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I decided to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to take a different route from the majority of young school-leavers and my friends. 37.9% of 18-year-olds were due to start an undergraduate course in 2021. I thought there must be another way I could begin my career.
After receiving four university offers and one of them being an unconditional offer, I wasn’t enticed by that. I decided to start searching for apprenticeships.
Luckily, I got an offer as an assistant management accountant apprentice at Apogee Corporation (a subsidiary company of HP). I chose this as my number one option because Apogee had 30 years of expertise in IT services, hardware, software, and printing services which were a manifestation that they could support my career growth particularly with the security of Hewlett Packard.
What was the apprentice application process like?
The application process was not difficult with Apogee. There was a friendly talent executive with who I built a great bond. The talent executive continuously communicated with me throughout the recruitment process.
During the first interview with my current manager and my colleague, they both asked me lots of questions. I did extensive research on Apogee which allowed me to be much more confident in the interview. I was so lucky and ended up having a second interview with the finance director of Apogee, who was someone who inspired me with how far she has proceeded with her financial career.
Apogee offered me a full-time apprenticeship with many prospects. I was successful and so happy to have a great career opportunity from one of Europe’s largest multi-branded companies in IT services and printing, Apogee offered me a full-time apprenticeship with many prospects.
Although Apogee’s recruitment process was not negative and I was fortunate, you do have to stay committed. It took a lot of applying for hundreds of roles and not hearing back from many companies. Don’t worry, there is a place for everyone somewhere where you will make a difference.
What does your role involve?
I work in management accounts within the IT industry, therefore my role requires preparing commission statements, updating the legal and professional fees analysis, posting credit card accruals and actuals, pulling reconciliations into the balance sheet to prepare them, updating our secondary rentals reconciliation, accruing for settlements within hardware which have been rev recognized in the month, clearing out the suspense account, completing audit samples and many more.
I enjoy working in corporate financial reporting, and I care about the results, which is why I appreciate it when my manager takes the time to give me detailed feedback.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?
I definitely recommend apprenticeships from my experience, it allows you to earn and learn, whilst others are building debt and earn nothing. I have learned so much from my colleagues. This includes many competencies and a range of knowledge from joining Apogee as their first apprentice.
I have also had a positive experience with my college, First intuition has amazing resources such as FI Learn. You can view all the content, practice with checkpoints and mocks, watch lectures.
In addition to this, my coach has always been there to support me with progress reviews to explain the next stages of my apprenticeship. My strengths and weaknesses were explained to me and my manager which allowed me to utilize this advice.
I have moreover, been super fortuitous to be able to attend the soft skills sessions. These are interesting to develop yourself as an individual such as increasing your intrepidity and presenting. There is no worry about what others think of you and understanding that we are all in the same position when presenting.
I really do love my role, which is why I do recommend apprenticeships.
How do you find studying as an apprentice and what top study tips work best for you?
Despite having a superb start to my career, it is not easy. I am learning all these new processes, completing my apprenticeship development tasks, revising for my AAT exams and updating my OTJ learning log. However, anything worth having is worth the hard work. I do believe in the long run all my hard work so far will be worth it.
My advice would get the right apprenticeship for you and absolutely devote yourself to it. Studying is not easy when you are working full time. I make sure I have some ME time because your health is very important too. However, I do schedule it on my weekends. I employ all of the first intuition’s resources and the AAT website.
In terms of studying, watch videos, read your note and practice several times as it is a very action-based exam. If you are stuck, always ask your tutor as that is what they are there for.
What tips would you give to people looking to start an apprenticeship?
Although it is difficult, it is an experience where you feel a part of an organization. You want to embrace it and advance your career progression because as a new learner, it is all in your hands.
Never give up, as you may find something that you never thought you would have achieved. For example, if I looked back at last year’s me, I would not have dreamed that I would be nearly six months of being at Apogee working in management accounts.