On the 30th March 2020, I wrote my 1st blog explaining why I decided to apply for an apprenticeship. Almost a year and a global pandemic later, I have completed my apprenticeship and have started level 3 in my AAT accountancy course. Despite the various challenges that we have faced as a team, I thoroughly enjoyed my year in an apprentice role, achieving everything that I had set out to: gaining an understanding of the finance department; developing communication and professional skills; learning processes and procedures that help the company function and providing a quality level of service. None of this could be achieved however without the amazing support provided by everyone at Jacksons. I can’t thank everyone enough!
Personally I believe the apprenticeship route has been crucial for my early career progression and really gives me a solid base from which to build on. I would encourage anyone who is unsure of what career path they wish to follow when leaving school to really consider the apprenticeship route. Beginning now as a trainee I don’t think I would have an ounce of the maturity and know what I know had I not taken an apprenticeship as the first step.
To complete my apprenticeship, I had to undertake 5 exams throughout a year’s timescale. The final exam was a synoptic which concluded all the topics we had learnt over the duration of the year. This exam was taken in late August and we received the results in September. It was a relief to finally complete these exams, and we were very fortunate that the course didn’t get too disrupted due to COVID. The college adapted swiftly, we transitioned to online learning quickly and smoothly, all of which was highly beneficial as we didn’t miss out on any learning and could carry on with completing the course.
Now that my apprenticeship has been completed, my title and role has progressed to that of a trainee. Since then a lot of changes have once again taken place. Due to the 2nd lockdown that was announced in November, we have been working in two separate bubbles within the finance team. This has meant that we are limited to one or two members in the office at any time. I have been going in twice a week and then working remotely on the other days. My days in the office now are completely different to that of a year ago. We all must take on each other’s roles and delegate jobs evenly to ensure everything is still done to a high standard. We have daily team calls and a Kamishibai board (a visual management tool that assists with the allocation of tasks), both have been introduced by Amie Callan, Partner & Head of Finance, to maintain the (In sequence) way in which we work in our team. To also further my development, Amie has introduced quarterly process review meetings. As we have the bubbles, we often cannot do training unless it’s undertaken virtually. However, through these meetings we can pass on tips and highlight any thing that we have noticed that we think we can be doing more efficiently or more consistently throughout the team.
To conclude, I feel very grateful for the opportunities I have been offered here at Jacksons. As for the future, I am hoping to complete the AAT level 3 course in April 2022 and then hopefully progress onto the following level and complete my trainee contract. As well as my academic achievement, I also hope to progress personally by furthering my finance knowledge and developing a greater understanding of the accounting processes.
Tom Dorgan, Finance Trainee