Author: Gary MillsDate: 2 weeks 3 days Ago

I had seen the apprenticeship programme advertised and because of my age I didn't think I would be eligible. During my appraisal I asked my line manager and he went away to check it out. There were no age criteria so I applied through my training manager and was accepted within a couple of weeks.

I chose the Level 4 Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) apprenticeship. I had decided on the apprenticeship route as I had self-studied previously and found it difficult to juggle with work and family life. So the chance to have additional tutor support and 20% of my time dedicated to focus on the course was very much appreciated.

The apprenticeship started in March 2019 and was expected to finish in October 2020. Because of Covid, learning centres being closed and exams cancelled for a prolonged period of time, this has now been put back to March 2021.

I have loved every moment of it. I have been assigned a mentor who has helped to guide me, not only through study, but also on the job training and advice. Working for a large organisation has given me the opportunity to work in different job functions to aid my development and to develop the portfolio of work needed to complete my apprenticeship. There have been lots of opportunities to try different things, both finance and non-finance related and I am supported by on the job training and direction from a wide range of colleagues across different fields. It really is a team that works together.

It has been challenging and difficult in parts, doubly so under current circumstances, but seeing my achievements has been incredibly rewarding. I particularly enjoyed my secondment within the financial accounts team and the chance to learn what is involved in that role. It has made me appreciate just how large and diverse the NECS finance function is. I have also supported the management of the Covid testing contact centre and this has strengthened my resilience and given me a new perspective.

I would definitely recommend others consider the apprenticeship route. I am keen to build a successful career and I'm hoping that the apprenticeship, additional roles and exposure that has brought, allows me to forge a path and a career that continues to grow with NECS in whichever way it turns. I have already applied to start my CIMA training in April after I complete my apprenticeship.

Because of the success in achieveing my apprenticeship, I was contacted by a communications company working on behalf of Northern skills network to do a piece for them about my experiences. After this was published, I was contacted by my local BBC radio station to do an interview for them also. Please click here to hear me talking to BBC Tees about my apprenticeship on 9th February (skip to 1:19:38).

Fiona Downs's picture
2 weeks 3 days Ago

Fantastic read Gary