‘The pandemic opened my eyes to the benefits of an apprenticeship’

Dev Soni, an apprentice accountant at SJD Accountancy, started his apprenticeship during the pandemic and hasn’t looked back since starting his career in the industry.

Having worked at his family jewellers since leaving school, Dev Soni, 24, experienced the economic impact of the pandemic extremely quickly. With lockdown bringing many retail businesses to a halt, he decided it was time to explore other career opportunities and quickly found himself considering an apprenticeship.

“The pandemic was a real eye-opener for me, and as someone who has worked full-time since leaving school, I wanted to continue working while still learning and developing new skills. That’s why I felt apprenticeship opportunities were an ideal consideration.

“I was also attracted to the apprentice route because it gave me the chance to earn money while working towards the same calibre of job roles some of my friends has acquired after attending university. For me, an apprenticeship was a step towards a great job without the burden of student debt hanging over my head, so it was a win-win.”

Dev soon landed his ideal role, joining SJD Accountancy as an apprentice accountant, where he works on all aspects of day-to-day accounting, as well as professional qualifications.

“I’ve been working on tasks such as VAT returns and end of year self-assessments for our clients, which are really important for any accountant, and I’m becoming qualified with the AAT, the professional body for accounting technicians.

“I’m currently at level three, working towards my level four, and a great benefit of this training is that there’s no exams on certain modules, which is allowing me to progress quickly and continue with my day-to-day work. The apprentices at SJD Accountancy also receive fantastic support from senior staff, and there’s really no problem too big or too small when it comes to sharing their knowledge and advice.”

With remote working being the new normal for lots of businesses, including SJD Accountancy, Dev has worked from home since starting his apprenticeship – but says he’s settled in well despite only ever meeting his colleagues virtually.

“The one concern I had was not being able to go to the office and meet my colleagues in person, so I had to get used to only speaking to them via platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Luckily, the team are all experienced in helping train apprentices like me, and the process has been really smooth.”

Coming from a family where many relatives have also become accountants, Dev is now eyeing up a career as fully qualified accountant following the completion of his apprenticeship.

“My apprenticeship is going very well and I definitely want to be in this industry for the long-run. Being an accountant is a career you can have for life and it can take you into lots of varied roles within businesses. 

“I’m planning to work all the way towards becoming a chartered certified accountant, and as I work with so many people who have gone down this route before, I’m in a great place to achieve that goal.” 

SJD Accountancy is part of Optionis Group, which was last year recognised as one of the UK’s top 10 apprenticeship employers by the UK Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency. Over the past three years, it has supported 550 employees to gain apprenticeships, providing job opportunities and development in a range of roles including accounting, payroll, and tax.

Karen Pay, Chief People Officer at Optionis, added:

“Dev is one of the many apprentices we’re committed to supporting, be that in normal times or the current pandemic.

“From March 2020, we’ve managed our apprenticeship scheme entirely virtually, but have been able to continue providing high quality-training for each apprentice within the group. This was a key focus for us as we adapted to the impact of coronavirus because apprenticeships are a huge part of our culture.

“We currently offer more than 17 different programmes in association with our training provider, Paragon Skills. Our managers are also encouraged to identify areas where apprenticeships can benefit current staff and to explore where apprentices could be recruited into new roles.

“Our pass rates are way above the national average of 62 per cent, which goes to show the success of our programme so far, and I’m pleased to see Dev and our other apprentices are on track to uphold our fantastic record for training and development.” 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page