From education to employment

Being an Apprentice Outside the Television Show!

It is not only a hit television show, but also an increasingly popular option amongst many young people today. FE News takes a look at what apprenticeships really have to offer on an individual level.

Who, What and Why?

Cingee Ip is just one who is taking advantage of the benefits of an apprenticeship. At 18, she gained 10 GCSEs of grades A-C and a Level 2 NVQ in Accountancy. However, upon starting a job, she realized that she wanted something more. Despite leaving school to embark on a career as a trainee accountant, she wanted to continue learning but in a hands-on environment.

Following a recommendation from her boss at Whittles Accountants in St. Anne’s, she began an apprenticeship with a local learning provider in conjunction with the Fylde College. One and a half years later she describes what being an apprentice with the Association of Accounting Technicians involves.

A Day in the Life

With one day a week at college and the other four at work, she spends most her time bookkeeping. She often finishes by 5pm, but if an exam is looming, extra work in the evenings is required. According to Cingee apprenticeships are very satisfying. She has found that learning something new or reaching the end of a task in which she has done well is extremely fulfilling.

However, there are some down sides. Dealing with a large number of clients requires a broad range of skills since each query is different. Nevertheless, Cingee does admit it keeps the job interesting.

The skills she has picked up from an apprenticeship in accountancy have been very rewarding in terms of helping her to be more successful and confident at work.

Into the Future

Cingee hopes to keep working as an accountant. The apprenticeship will continue for a year, after which becoming a fully qualified chartered accountant takes a further four. The time taken to do the apprenticeship has been time well spent in her eyes: “Without this apprenticeship I wouldn”t be able to do what I”m doing. This is the best way into the job that I want to do,” she says.

In particular, she praises the knowledge and expertise to be gained from the tuition. This has provided her with knowledge which she feels there would not have been time to gather at work. Rose Andrews, a partner in Whittles Accountants, feels Cingee has settled in quickly and is a valued member of the team.

Furthermore, she made it clear that the benefits of an Apprenticeship are not limited to the learner. For a small business such as Whittles, Rose claims it is a cost effective way to develop well-trained staff by taking on an apprentice rather than a graduate. She believes the practical work and exam training complement each other well.

So in conclusion, it’s not all talk; apprenticeships do seem to hold the key to a better workforce and brighter future, and an opportunity to benefit both apprentice and employer.

Angela Balakrishnan

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