Apprenticeships added up for us
Financial Services Nicola finished an Apprenticeship some years ago while Hannah is just starting hers; but both have no regrets about the career paths they have taken. Here are their stories...
Nicola Shearer, Audit Manager
- “I joined BDO in 2007 on what was previously called the Commercial Trainee Scheme. I initially signed a one year contract expecting to spend 6 months in audit and 6 months in tax and was then able to decide if I wanted to join the graduate scheme or go off to university. After starting in audit I chose to stay there for the whole year... and the rest as they say is history.
I chose to continue with audit due to the diversity of the role: you will be in different locations, working with clients from different industries and often with different teams almost every week. It’s this variety that I enjoyed and the fact that it is such a people focused profession. You are client facing from practically the day you join. The most challenging aspect of the role really is the exams. The ACA qualification is tough — but that is why it is so highly regarded. Once qualified the opportunities are endless! There is the option to go on secondment within the firm either in to a different department or to a different country or go on to work in industry. I have been given some great opportunities within BDO and worked on some really interesting and complex audits that have taken me on overseas trips to Malaysia, Indonesia, the US, Australia and Singapore.
While I would not discourage anybody from attending university I personally have no regrets and feel I have been able to achieve so much more by jumping straight into my career. Along with being fast-tracked to manager at 24 last year, I featured in Accountancy Age’s 35 under 35 Young Professionals list and Economia’s Future Stars of Finance.”
Hannah Young, Audit School Leaver
- “Once my gap year was up and I left home to go to university, I found that I couldn’t quite adapt to being back in a classroom environment all of the time. It was there that I started looking into alternatives that would allow me to go straight into a career where I could gain a respected qualification and avoid student debt.
I was drawn to audit because if gives you the opportunity to see and understand how businesses operate. So far my experience has been brilliant. At times it can be challenging but everyone is really supportive and if there’s something you don’t understand they will always make the time to explain it. I’ve worked on some really interesting and well-known clients.
The support for school-leavers is really good, and there are plenty of people you can contact should you need to. First is the dedicated professional qualifications exec who you can contact at any point about anything to do with your courses or learning. You are also assigned a counselling manager and a counselling partner who’ll hold catch-up meetings with you to find out how you are getting on with the day-to-day work and who’ll hold career discussions with you. Finally, you are assigned a 'buddy' who is someone on a similar or slightly more senior level than yourself who you can approach with any questions that you might have.
I get on really well with all of my intake and although we’re not always in the office at the same time, we always make an effort to go for lunches when we can. I did not realise there would be such a social life involved with the job!”