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Celebrating apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2017

Rachel Thomas

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2017, I sat down with Peterborough-based Moore apprentices (pictured from l-r) Shane Couzens, Natasha Fenner and Myles Phillips to find out what they think of their Apprenticeships.

All three of our apprentices have taken different routes within the firm.  Myles is training to be an accountant on the ACA apprenticeship scheme.  Natasha completed her apprenticeship in Business Admin with Moore and is now studying for AAT Level 3 to become a qualified bookkeeper.  Shane is currently taking Level 2 Business Admin and hopes to move into the Audit & Accounts team later on.

Why did you decide to go down the apprenticeship route?

Natasha: I didn’t want to go to university as I didn’t want a big debt hanging over me.
Shane: I really wanted to gain experience as soon as I could, and to start earning money straight away.
Myles: The combination of study and experience that the apprenticeship scheme provided was really appealing, and something I wouldn’t have had if I had gone to university to study accountancy.
Natasha: The only downside was missing out on Fresher’s Week parties but it was definitely worth it!

How did you find out about the role?

Myles: I knew I wanted to be an accountant, so I looked online specifically for apprenticeships in accountancy.
Shane: I applied via the website. I’d met someone on a Business Admin apprenticeship scheme while I was on work experience and they really inspired me.  There were loads of different places available, so I applied for jobs with firms that sounded interesting, like Moore.
Natasha:  I was looking for a Business Admin apprenticeship as I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, and that seemed to provide a broad business experience and left me lots of options for the future.  I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do in future, but it’s opened up lots of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise!

Why did you choose Moore?

Natasha: My interview with Moore was the best one I’ve ever had, everyone was really welcoming and it felt very relaxed. 
Shane: Some places I went to interviews at first were quite intimidating and off putting, but Moore wasn’t like that – it just felt really friendly.

How does the apprenticeship scheme work?

Myles: We’re all on different programmes, so it varies.  In addition to working in the Audit Team, I also go to college to study.  To become a fully qualified accountant I have to pass 15 exams over three years, and have three years practical experience.  The great thing about the apprenticeship scheme is that you get the experience whilst studying – if I’d gone down the University or College route it would have taken me a lot longer to qualify.  We’re really lucky in that Moore are incredibly supportive - we get paid study leave for example which really helps. 
Shane: I have a tutor who comes out to visit me once a month and coursework which the firm gives me time at work to complete.  And working here means there are loads of people I can ask about case studies and examples to include in my work.
Natasha: I go to day release at college.  It varies depending on which course I’m taking, but sometimes I’m in the office for four days a week with one day at college.

What do you like about the apprenticeship scheme?

Myles: You feel really valued and productive – you can see that you’re doing something that’s really making a difference.
Shane: I like how it’s work-based, you get to meet so many interesting new people.
Natasha: I feel like an adult – I go to work every day, I earn my own money.  I can even afford my own car.  I love the fact that I’m paying my own way. If I went to University I wouldn’t be able to.
Myles: Earning money makes you feel less reliant on others.
Shane: It’s true – being an apprentice makes you feel ‘enriched and advanced’!

What did your family and friends think?

Natasha: My family were a bit gutted as I would have been the first person to go to Uni, but when I explained the advantages of apprenticeships they were really pleased, they liked seeing me able to stand on my own two feet.
Shane: Mine were so proud of me when I got the job at Moore.
Myles: No one in my family had been to Uni, and I always knew I wanted to go straight to work in accountancy so they weren’t surprised at all!

What would you say to someone thinking of applying?

Natasha: Apply! An apprenticeship is ideal for people who want to kick start their career. It’s also perfect if you’re not good at exams as a lot of the apprenticeships are more practical based.
Myles: Apprenticeships seem to have a lot of negative connotations, as if they’re only for those who aren’t able to go to University but that’s just not true. Working at a firm like Moore, not only are you earning a wage, but you get a lot of experience in different areas and lots of opportunities to learn new things. It’s great.
Shane: Try to ignore the preconceptions and judge it for yourself – if you’re committed and motivated and you want to earn a way then an apprenticeship could be perfect for you.

The National Apprenticeship Service supports the delivery of apprenticeships and traineeships in England. It offers free impartial advice and support to employers looking to recruit for the first time or expand their apprenticeship and/or traineeship programmes. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice or trainee through the support of employer focused teams.

Through the Find an apprenticeship and Find a traineeship recruitment sites on GOV.UK employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices or trainees can apply. Call 08000 150 600 or search for apprenticeships on GOV.UK to find out more. Follow the National Apprenticeship Service on LinkedIn and Twitter