A leading north east training provider has appointed an accountancy expert and former apprentice employer to train the next generation of accounting technicians.

Award-winning training provider Access Training, based in Team Valley, has employed Andrew Houghton as a learner advisor delivering the assistant accountant apprenticeship.

Andrew, 52, regularly recruited accounting apprentices from Access Training in his role as co-owner and director at his Bishop Auckland accountancy firm, Mitchells Grievson, and was always a passionate advocate of apprenticeships. So much so that his company was named North East Apprentice Employer of the year.

With such strong links to the Gateshead training organisation, he is delighted to join the team and welcomes the opportunity to postpone his early retirement and share his experience with the new generation of accounting experts.

Andrew, from Crook, said: “I was approached by training manager Susan Harris who thought I may be interested in this new role. I had worked with Susan for the last 18 years when I recruited apprentices from Access Training within my own business.

“I started out as an apprentice, and worked my way up through the ranks to eventually become a business owner so for me, apprenticeships are extremely valuable. From a former YTS lad back in 1984, I have since employed and trained apprentices in my own business, most of whom have gone on to have very successful careers of their own, so I know first-hand the value that good apprentices can bring to a business.

“I’d taken a year out after selling my stake in my business and this opportunity at Access Training is a wonderful way for me to keep active, pass on what I’ve learned and hopefully help the next generation of accountants.”

As an Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) learning advisor, Andrew will be interviewing potential apprentices, teaching the Association of Accounting Technician qualification and carrying out reviews of apprentices in the workplace.

The AAT apprenticeship is designed for an entry level role in the accountancy profession, and can lead into a variety of careers with supporting professional qualifications. The role is applicable to a wide range of employers across the sector in both large and small firms and in industry, practice and the public sector. 

Andrew brings with him 35 years experience in the accountancy industry, with 18 years at Mitchells Grievson Chartered Accountants as a manager, a partner then as a director when the business was incorporated.


Throughout his career, Andrew worked his way up the career ladder, from roles as AAT apprentice and accounts junior to accounts senior and audit manager at accountancy firms in the North East. 

Susan Harris, training manager at Access Training, said: “I’ve worked with Andrew for so long as a client. He is uniquely experienced after being one of our employers and has great understanding of what the accountancy apprenticeship and Access Training can do for the employer and the apprentice.

“The apprentices are really lucky to have someone with his level of real world accountancy experience to guide them and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls. Employers will benefit with apprentices more able to hit the ground running bringing immediate value to their business.”

Malcolm Armstrong, managing director of Access Training, said: “Access Training has had such a long and successful working relationship with Andrew that when this opportunity presented itself it seemed like a natural next step. The apprentices will be able to draw on Andrew’s in depth experience and he already has an excellent understanding of our culture and methods.”

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