Apprenticeship Schemes in an Accounting Firm
Eight months ago, I began an apprenticeship with the Exeter based accounting and bookkeeping firm, RFL Company Services. I’d recently studied an AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting, thanks to my strong interest in mathematics. Working with data and using IT in my personal life also helped lead onto gaining some experience.
Within a business, an apprentice is not necessarily a temporary asset, but can also be viewed as an investment. Whilst the scheme involves placing time, trust and resources into someone who is generally inexperienced in the field, a company can train up an apprentice until eligible to work full time. Besides maybe an initial year’s worth of work, there is no full-time commitment to be made. Quite often though, an employer hires an apprentice with the intention of keeping them within the business.
In my case, I began working in a small firm with multiple workloads surfacing every week. For an employer in this position, having an apprentice around to lighten the load is an invaluable decision. Within an accounting firm the work is plentiful. There are always queries to respond to, filing to be carried out, and the company’s social media presence to maintain.
Is an Apprenticeship for you?
An apprenticeship can benefit both the employer and the employee. The apprentice themselves gain in depth knowledge on the inner-workings of a business, as well as their area of study. The framework of an apprenticeship is mainly built up of a qualification that is achieved at the end. I am studying a Level 3 in Business and Administration, so my position also aids my learning and coursework.
If you’re thinking about taking up an apprenticeship, don’t let the idea of coursework alongside regular work frighten you. All written work and observations are intended to be completed during your work hours. Depending on your training provider, workbooks should be slowly introduced to you, and completed in an order you feel appropriate. A member of the provider will let you choose which criteria you believe you can fulfil to complete the qualification. I would advise against picking any criterion that seems simple to carry out. Even though these will allow you to acquire the qualification, it may eventually prevent you from displaying your potential to future employers.
Personally, I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone starting up in their field, that requires a qualification and experience before working in a full-time position. The learning process is gradual, and your employer, assessor and training provider are always there to aid you. Considering that prior to this, I had no experience in a workplace whatsoever, I feel as though I have done nothing but gain from my apprenticeship. My confidence has been boosted, and working as a team seems like second nature thanks to my experience as an apprentice.
I believe in the concept. Sometimes vocational training has more going for it than degree level education (I quote from a former CEGB Manager and senior engineer) and those that qualify should be equally respected. However, apprentices are not ‘cheap labour’, they are and should always be, an investment and be treated and remunerated as such.