What attracted you to a career in accounting?
When I was studying for my GCSE’s and A Levels, I always loved the Finance modules. I knew I would go down this avenue in my career. It was not until I studied my accountancy modules that I knew this was the exact route I wanted to go down. I think I was very lucky in the sense that before I left school, I knew what I wanted to do as accountancy is something I have always loved learning about.
Why did you choose the apprenticeship route over university?
I did actually complete a year at University in Leeds however, this route was not for me. I was always torn between the two of them and after a year, I decided to move on. First Intuition was a great opportunity that I found advertised and applied for. It’s one of the best decisions I have made. Studying an apprenticeship means that I am learning first hand whilst my costs are covered. Opposed to University where I would have incurred a large amount of debt. Apprenticeships offer a more practical approach to learning and gaining valuable on the job training. It has allowed me to develop my soft skills as well as my professional knowledge.
An apprenticeship also gives you a head start in studying for an accountancy qualification over going to University. When you graduate, you still need to sit accountancy exams and have 3 years of work experience before you can qualify. However, you can gain both the qualification and the work experience whilst doing an apprenticeship which is extremely beneficial.
What are the benefits and challenges of studying as an apprentice?
The benefit of studying as an apprentice is that I am able to gain a well-known qualification without incurring any training costs. I am receiving real-life work experience in my day-to-day role that I then learn about when I attend my tuition days. I am able to bring what I have learnt back into the work I am completing.
The main challenge of studying as an apprentice is studying alongside working full time. There are a lot of elements involved, especially when you are due to sit an exam. You have college days, work and revision to balance; however, this challenge doesn’t need to be difficult. As long as you make a plan in terms of revision, you are proactive and stick to it, it isn’t a hard challenge to overcome.
What is it like balancing work with your studies?
I think I have a good balance which has come from experience. I have now found a way that works for me. Planning is essential! Once I have completed a course, I plan a date for my exam there and then so I have a target to work towards. I feel like this is incredibly important to enable me to balance my studying. Once this date is booked, I make a revision plan which is realistic of what I am going to revise each day, when I am going to complete my mock exams etc. Having a plan in place which I stick to motivates me and helps me balance this around my day-to-day work. It also makes me feel more confident and my mindset is a lot more positive knowing I have covered everything in enough time.
Is there anything you have learnt during your apprenticeship (outside of the content your exams cover) that you feel has particularly benefited your work?
As an apprentice, besides the exam content, you have skills days which you attend. These days cover lots of different soft skills such as Teamwork, Leadership and Adaptability. These days have been really beneficial as it allows you to learn more about yourself as a person. I think this is incredibly important as I am always looking for ways to personally improve. You can gain knowledge in these different skills then bring them to the workplace to work more effectively both independently and as a team. I feel these skills sessions have been vital in improving my confidence. This has grown a lot over the 3 years I have been studying at First Intuition.
What support do you receive doing an apprenticeship with First Intuition?
Lots of support! I get support from my Manager who gives me brilliant support and from on-the-job training. A lot of what I study, I now complete at work in different tasks. This has allowed me to develop and bring the knowledge that I have learnt into the workplace. This is really beneficial.
My Skills Coach has given me support throughout the whole duration of my apprenticeship. They have helped me with the planning of my exams and also with my development tasks. They offer me advice and feedback on how they can be improved so the end product is of high quality. My Skills Coach is also there for any general queries I have about my studies and is always on hand to help with any questions.
The tutors are great! If I have any struggles during class with any questions, they are always there to help and always explain everything in detail until you fully understand. Even outside the classroom, the tutors are always available to answer any questions. They go above and beyond to ensure that you are always fully prepared for all exams.
Have you got any advice for someone thinking of starting accountancy studies?
I think preparation and hard work are fundamental. When it comes to exams, you need to ensure you are fully prepared. You should have a plan in place for revision and make sure you stick to it. It’s very easy to become distracted, but having a plan will allow you to stay on track and be the best prepared you can be.
Also, take every opportunity that is available to you. Whether this is a new task to complete at work or any additional training sessions which become available, definitely do it as it will enable you to develop your knowledge and skills even further. An apprenticeship is about learning first hand so you should always look for opportunities within your work and studies to improve.
Would you recommend the apprenticeship route with First Intuition to other students?
Yes I definitely would.