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Journey of an apprentice…

Siân Fletcher – Apprentice at Barrons

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” Working as an apprentice has provided me with lots of opportunities to grow within a firm of accountants whilst studying towards relevant qualifications. When I started, over 3 years ago, I was able to learn the foundations of the company alongside experienced colleagues; over time my responsibilities have grown and I am now progressing towards a higher position.

Whilst attending college and university before starting your career can be an attractive option because of the life “experiences”, an apprenticeship allows you to earn a salary at the same time as gaining both the professional and technical skills needed in your career. Learning on the job has meant my experience has improved rapidly as I am encountering obstacles that I may not necessarily learn theoretically, and I believe I have developed technically at a faster rate than if I had chosen a different route.

Working in a professional environment requires particular skills that you can only obtain at work, such as client interaction, working alongside colleagues with different personalities and behaviours and building/maintaining good relationships.

An apprenticeship propels you to your desired qualifications faster than higher education and is far less expensive. Furthermore, working alongside others who have already gained their qualifications offers me constant support and knowledge when needed throughout my studies, which is an invaluable asset. In my experience I feel that choosing an apprenticeship has been far more beneficial to me and my career. “

Russell Tillbrook – Partner at Barrons

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” As a firm we have been involved with providing apprenticeships for a number of years now. They are very flexible and allow you to develop employees with the key specific skills required while allowing the apprentice to gain valuable practical experience that allows them to utilise and put into practice the theoretical skills learnt through their studies.

We have found that the apprentice, as part of the employment process, quickly develops a strong understanding of the demands of a client interfacing role and not having any preconceptions of work ethic and culture the employer can develop an individual to suit their business for enhanced career development opportunity over the longer term.

There are a whole range of options with regards to the study methods used as well and this has enabled us to fit studies around work commitments and to also develop the apprentice at the right speed for both parties.

Local colleges are fully supportive and regularly visit the firm to provide updates on the apprentices progress in the classroom and work alongside the firm to ensure that a plan is in place to set regular work based targets for the apprentice.

Financially there are various central and local government grants available to support the firm with apprentices and in many cases the training costs can be covered by funding as well, dependent on the apprentices circumstances and age.

On a practical level apprentices help to provide a steady stream of staff developing through your business, which when you get the process right reduces the need to recruit staff longer term with the costs that this entails and with no guarantee of finding someone that, although they have the skills may not fit well with your business culture.

Hence, two more apprentices will be joining us again this Summer, allowing existing apprentices to move up the hierarchy and support their new colleagues as mentors. “