Apprenticeships shaping future of business

Apprenticeships shaping future of business

Laura Keen, EY Apprenticeship leader, shares the experiences of apprentices from the EY Transaction Business Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships shaping future of business

This week (w/c 3 February) marks National Apprenticeship Week, which celebrates the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities across England today.

Apprenticeships are one of the many ways companies can increase entry routes into their profession or industry. They can help a business to grow and diversify the talent they recruit and support a culture that values innovation at all levels of the company.

Businesses can get ahead of the curve if they’re able to identify and offer different types of schemes that upskill and strengthen the capabilities of their employees in strategic areas.

In professional services, there has been a rising demand for STEM skills in response to changing client needs, with traditional roles such as audit and tax, now being complemented by cyber security and data analysis. In this case, apprenticeships can enable a business to develop its data and digital skills and expertise to help future proof its workforce.

As well as broadening skillsets, apprenticeships can also help to sustain an organisation’s workforce. Home-grown talent is generally more likely to stay with a business as individuals will often have plenty of different opportunities to develop and nurture their skills.

Taking the apprenticeship route – five months in and five months to go

Annabelle Simonds – EY Transaction Business Apprenticeship (Level 7 Accountancy & Taxation Apprenticeship, five months into the first year of her apprenticeship)

“At 18 I am part of a global organisation where I am proud to say I have not just started a new job, but instead I have begun a career for life.”

University seemed to be the only path to follow whilst I was at school. It was the only route I had really known about. However, after meeting a few people on the EY Apprenticeship programme, I looked into the option further, deciding that a paid full-time job, whilst working towards an Accountancy qualification and achieving Chartered Accountant status at 22, was too good to miss. Even when I received my acceptance letter I still didn’t realise how valuable this opportunity would be.

I’ve moved from a fairly small sixth form to a global workplace, where I get to meet so many diverse people with different backgrounds and experiences. There are great networking opportunities too, where you can build contacts and develop relationships both internally and externally.

After just five months at EY, I’ve learnt more about the industry than I could have imagined. I am already getting involved in significant projects and gaining new skills and experience in business that at 18 is rare.

There’s a strong support structure in place. Everyone has a buddy when they join who can help with any questions and provide guidance whilst you’re settling in. There’s also a genuine community feel, since you join at the same time as like-minded peers who are often just starting out in their career too.

Five months in, I can see a lot of opportunity to further my responsibility. I’m excited that I’m in a position where I can proactively progress my career and shape where I want to be, and what I want to achieve in the years to come.

Rozalie Boyle – EY Transaction Business Apprenticeship (five months left of her final year)

“For me choosing an apprenticeship was really simple; if you can think of a career you want to do in three years’ time, why not do it now? An apprenticeship puts you ahead of the curve.”

Over the last 3.5 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many FTSE companies, and develop my knowledge and understanding of restructuring businesses.

Looking back, I can see how my role transitioned year-to-year as I progressed through the programme. At the start, I helped with more internally focussed work, but now I am regularly involved in client projects and been given the responsibility to help manage a team. This responsibility has really built my confidence and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

The industry is changing all the time and an apprenticeship can really prepare you for this. The programme encourages you to learn to adapt quickly to changing project requirements and demands, and also helps develop your problem solving and analytical skills. You have exposure to clients, senior management and interesting projects. The learning curve can be steep, but you’re engaged and motivated by the diversity of work you can get involved with.

For me, the real reward is in the breadth of clients I’ve worked with and the development I can see in myself since I started the programme 3.5 year ago. When I finish my apprenticeship in five months I will be a Chartered Accountant.  At such a young age this will help establish my career and put me further ahead than my peers pursuing alternative routes, such as going to university first.

In terms of challenges, the exams you sit are tricky but if you put the time and effort into them, you will succeed. You also have a great support network around you of colleagues, peers and tutors who are always available as a helping hand.

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