Meet the apprentice: Becca Fay

When First Intuition student Becca Fay was recently recognised as the AAT’s Apprentice of The Year for 2017, she was described as having “all the attributes to excel as an apprentice; a self-motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic individual. One can only wonder where this kind of steely determination could come from in one so young.”

Meet the apprentice: Becca Fay

When First Intuition student Becca Fay was recently recognised as the AAT’s Apprentice of The Year for 2017, she was described as having “all the attributes to excel as an apprentice; a self-motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic individual. One can only wonder where this kind of steely determination could come from in one so young.”

As a former life guard and the current captain of Cambridge United Ladies football team she is typical of the range of interests, talent and drive that modern apprentices are displaying. After taking GCSE’s and A-levels Becca decided that University wasn’t the best choice for her but that the AAT qualification was the natural training route into a career in accountancy, so she applied for a job as a Finance Apprentice. This is a decision she has never regretted.

Becca now works as an accounts junior for Streets Chartered Accountants, a medium-sized accounting practice. She has already completed AAT levels 2 and 3 and is well on the way to finishing level 4. Her apprenticeship has allowed her to get involved in a wide-range of work, including accounts preparation, VAT returns, corporation tax and audit.  This range of work has allowed her to put into practice what she has been studying as part of her AAT Level 4 qualification.

Crystal Haygreen, one of Becca’s tutors at First Intuition, spotted the potential that Becca had from their first class together.

‘Becca stood out to me from the first day of the business skills workshops. She was keen and worked really hard. Within just a single day she had prepared a fantastic presentation and delivered it to me with great confidence. She maintained her enthusiasm and drive throughout the course, putting in extra time and effort to progress through her qualification. Her attitude was always hugely positive. She didn’t see any of her studies as a chore and when the units became more challenging she stepped up her game to make sure she continued to deliver great work.”

Becca’s training manager, Linda Lord, highlights that Becca is not only a good student, but also a great employee. “Becca is a pleasure to employ.  She has an excellent work ethic, always willing to assist her colleagues and her clients.  She regularly goes out to clients premises to help them with their accounting processes.”

Becca is also a great team player and is always willing to help out in tasks outside of her own role.  This was shown by her help during a recent office relocation.  Becca’s organisational skills and methodical approach to working was very much appreciated when organising and assisting in the move.

Becca’s sporting ability has also been noted as she is the secret weapon on the Streets football team where her male colleagues struggle to keep up with her.  Becca is also instrumental in organising other sporting and networking events for her colleagues at Streets.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of the AAT, was lucky enough to sit next to Becca at the Awards Dinner and could understand why she had received such recognition.

“Becca is a very capable individual who is clear about what she wants to achieve and the next steps she intends to take in order to turn that ambition into reality. I have no doubt her confidence and articulate manner will stand her in good stead for the future. She is a great example of how an apprenticeship can enable individuals and organisations to achieve their potential.”

Gareth John, a Director at First Intuition, asked Becca a few questions about the incredible start she has made to her accountant career.

Why did you decide not to go to University?
University really didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t see the point in racking up debt unnecessarily and I was keen to start earning pennies right away, but at the same time I didn’t want to go into a ‘dead-end’ job.

What first attracted you to a career in accountancy?
Truthfully, I fell into it.  I have always loved playing sport and worked part time as a coach and a lifeguard while studying for my A levels but didn’t feel it was the right career path for me to take. I was keen to try something different – in an office environment – and I was lucky enough to get the first job I applied for as a finance apprentice for a property investment company.  From day one I knew I’d made the right decision.

Why did you decide to follow an apprenticeship programme?
It was a way of improving my skills to further my career.

What benefits do you get out of studying as an apprentice?
As cheesy as it sounds – I’m earning whilst I’m learning! Studying as an apprentice means I can attend college on day release and am also allowed the time off to sit my exams. As well as my AAT qualifications I have gained a business diploma through studying the apprenticeship programme at First Intuition.

What’s it like studying with First Intuition?
The support network at First Intuition is amazing. The class sizes are small allowing the tutor plenty of time with each student and I always look forward to attending my classes. I have found a new thirst for knowledge which went missing for a while during my A levels! I’ve met lots of other students who are studying the same qualification but come from different workplace environments, and being with them helps my understanding of the syllabus.

How are your course tutors?
The course tutors are fab! They are really approachable and willing to help – always happy to explain things in greater detail. I’ve been known to email them at weekends panicking about exams and received a reassuring response!

And do you find the course material useful?
The course material is great; it’s regularly updated and easy to follow. It’s also broken down in to ‘bite size’ revision chunks!

Do you have any advice for other students about how to ensure that they succeed in their studies?
Be super-organised and plan your time. It’s easy to go off track but if you can stick to a schedule you’ll be sure to cover all topics particularly through revision periods in the lead up to exams. The more work you put in, the better the outcome!

Although studying to better my career prospects takes priority, I do believe that down time is also important. By sticking to my study plan it ensures I have time to play football and socialise with my friends.

Looking back, are you happy with the way you have started your finance career?
If anything, I wish I had discovered AAT earlier. It’s difficult to know what you are going to enjoy as a career until you try it, but if I’d known at 16 what I know now I would’ve started my AAT sooner.

So you would recommend an apprenticeship as a route for other students?

How has studying AAT impacted on your life so far?
AAT isn’t just the qualification, I have also gained many professional skills and a great deal of business knowledge through meeting peers from different industries. Being able to implement the skills from my AAT studies directly in my day-to-day role in the work place has allowed me to appreciate first-hand how relevant the qualification is.

Do you have plans for after you finish AAT level 4?
I plan to go on to study for the ACCA qualification starting this Summer.