Jade is an Assistant Manager at Assure UK and currently working towards a Level 7 Accountancy / Taxation Professional Apprenticeship. She left Banbury Academy after completing Year 11 and went on to study A Levels at Leamington Spa College (Warwickshire College Group) before starting her Apprenticeship.
Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?
To become a fully chartered accountant there are a number of routes to go down to become qualified. The first route which is the popular route would be attending university. This would consist of completing 3 years at university and then in addition once finished joining an accountancy firm to gain 3 years’ experience as well as completing 9 exams (receive an exemption for 4 exams). The second route was completing an Apprenticeship, this consists of 13 exams and requiring 3 years’ experience.
So overall, if attending university, the minimum time spent qualifying would be 6 years in comparison to the Apprenticeship route which would be 3 years minimum.
I also thought I would be able to increase my skills and knowledge to a higher level if experiencing the work first hand rather than through observation and lectures at university. An Apprenticeship route also seemed the best route for me because you have the opportunity to earn a wage whilst also learning on the job whereas if I was attending university I would have had to get a weekend job as well as studying for my degree.
How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?
During my time at Leamington Spa College, I completed an A Level in Accounting as well as Business Studies and Psychology. My accountancy tutor received an email from a past student (Marketing Manager at the time for Assure UK) who were advertising for a role at Assure UK as a pension auditor. My tutor identified that the position was local to me in Banbury and forwarded me the details to see if I was interested in the role and how to apply for the job.
What does your job involve?
There are a number of aspects involved with my job and below is a brief description of some of the roles:
- Audit – At Assure UK we specialise in pension scheme audits. This requires us to ensure pension scheme financial statements are materially free from misstatement.
- Assurance – A key area I am heavily involved with are assurance projects (pension scheme administrators, Master Trusts and Sole Trusteeships). I project manage a number of clients and build strong client relationships to ensure the projects are completed on time. This has allowed me to develop my organisational skills thoroughly.
- Proposals/sales pipeline – I also write the proposals for any potential clients which has allowed me to develop my writing skills and how best to sell Assure UK whilst also developing my skills on excel and PowerPoint to create informative graphs.
- Blog writing - finally, I also write one blog each month for Assure UK which gets posted to the website and focus around key areas of our work which will help our clients.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
I am lucky enough to be able spend a lot of time travelling to clients across England and Northern Ireland. These could be day trips to visit the client or week long visits. I have been able to visit places I would never have experienced otherwise, a highlight for me was watching the England World Cup Semi Final in a pub in Northern Ireland.
I would also say we’re not your usual accountancy firm, there’s such a stereotype around accountancy firm’s being boring however we are anything but that. At Assure UK we bring the fun into the office by completing team activities, office Olympics and we have our own task master.
What have you gained from your Apprenticeship?
I have been able to gain a large range of skills and experience since beginning my Assure UK, this has involved my communication skills, building client relationships, working as a team, asking for help when it’s needed, project management and written skills for proposals/emails/reports.
What do you plan to do next?
Once I have completed the Level 7 Apprenticeship, there is the opportunity to gain a degree as well as a Masters which I would definitely be interested in getting involved with and also by gaining experience in more of a managerial role.
How will your Apprenticeship help you achieve this?
I will be able to develop the managerial skills through skills days, experience at Assure UK and development days at my current training provider.
What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?
If you are unsure about what to do at first then don’t jump straight into it eg. I did an A Level in accountancy first to ensure I wasn’t trapped in a job I didn’t enjoy for a minimum of 3 years and make sure you do your research.
What’s your top tip?
Take the opportunities that life throws you and hold onto them.
How do you feel about becoming an Apprenticeship Ambassador?
It is something I have never done before; I have been a performer on stage as a dancer since the age of 2 however when it comes to public speaking I don’t jump at the opportunities when they arise however when this opportunity arose I jumped at the thought of becoming more confident in my safe and having the chance to influence someone else to take the next step/leap into their life and career. Whether that be in accounting or an Apprenticeship, I would love to be able to make a difference to at least one person and the opportunity may not come about again.