Level 7 Accountancy Apprentices split their time between a working role and time studying for their qualification. Rikki Viskin chose ACCA as her preferred route whilst working at DG International. She started her studies in 2019 and gained her affiliate status in 2021. To achieve this, Rikki had the usual challenge of balancing work and studying whilst maintaining progress by sitting regular exams. However, she also had a global pandemic to deal with.
It’s worth remembering that during this time, there were periods when exams were not available to be sat. When exams restarted, students had to transition in some instances to sitting remotely. Our students were also used to the classroom environment. Suddenly they were studying at home and many were furloughed. We take our hats off to anyone who’s managed to keep studying and making progress. However, those who managed to successfully complete their qualification in this difficult time have really achieved a great deal.
We caught up with Rikki and found out more about her accountancy apprenticeship, as well as how she coped in the pandemic.
Can you tell us a little about your background and why you chose to study accountancy?
During my time at school, maths was always my strong point and I had a particular interest in my business studies GCSE, so I knew I’d prosper in a finance-based role. Once I left college, I did a lot of research around different career paths and accountancy was definitely most suited to me.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I chose an apprenticeship because it gave me the best of both worlds; I love to learn new things but thrive in a work environment. An apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to contribute to society while studying at the same time. This allowed me to progress in my career with not only the required knowledge to do my job but the skills and behaviours I’ve learned throughout the apprenticeship.
Can you tell us a little about what it’s like to study accountancy as an apprentice?
Studying accountancy as an apprentice has been a learning curve but it has definitely been the best route for me. My skills coach, my line manager, and I regularly set targets, both work and study-related, and this really helped with my knowledge at work as it encouraged my employer to give me more responsibilities and visibility of the business.
What would you say are the main benefits of an apprenticeship for the apprentice?
Compared to studying without an apprenticeship, I think the structure is a huge benefit. The apprenticeship standard is designed to work on lots of skills, such as timekeeping and presentation, through the skills days and the quarterly reviews are a great way to reflect on how far you’ve come and help to prepare for the future.
What support did you get from FI Chelmsford and how did you find studying with us?
The support from FI was phenomenal; the pandemic happened right in the middle of my apprenticeship so I thought I’d have to push back my exams. However, my skills coach kept in regular contact and due to this, I was able to sit my June TX exam on the pilot remote sitting in July and therefore keep on track with my original plan. To support my studies for this exam while FI was closed, David set up weekly calls to revise the syllabus, answer any questions and ensure I was confident to sit the exam. The support I received during the pandemic really shows how much FI wants their students to succeed!
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