Apprentices at work

There are many misconceptions about apprenticeships, for example: “It’s only for young, new recruits to the business”. However, anyone of any age, whether new to your business or an existing team member, can and should explore the many apprenticeship offerings available.

When we needed an Assistant Accountant to add to our growing team, we were lucky enough to find someone internally who had a love for spreadsheets and expenses and wanted to break into the world of finance. Aanissa had no finance experience but was eager to learn, so we set her off on her training in finance, and an apprenticeship to become an AAT-qualified Assistant Accountant.

A few months in — and with her first exam successfully under her belt — we caught up with Aanissa to get the lowdown on the world of apprenticeship training…

In your opinion, what are the main benefits of doing an apprenticeship? 

An apprenticeship is the best of both worlds, in that I’m able to train on the job which helps to build my career skills, whilst the knowledge I’m gaining at work is also helping me with my course; they complement each other well.

Because I now have a broader knowledge, I’m able to help with more advanced work that I wouldn’t have been able to before. In turn, this motivates me to perform better at work as I also want to succeed on my course.

My course provider is Kaplan and it is fully remote, meaning I have 24/7 access to online tutors and resources to expand my knowledge.

The great thing about the course is that it’s more than just passing exams; it has taught me finance skills which I can apply both in the workplace and in my daily life.

Why did you want to do an apprenticeship?

I chose an apprenticeship because I wanted to continue building my knowledge and expand my skill set without having to go back into full time education. Furthermore, I thought it would be a great opportunity to put what I’m learning on my course into practice within the workplace.

The course helps me to understand the science behind many of the activities conducted in the finance department whilst completing a finance qualification, perfectly complimenting the practical side in the work I do with Aire.

Why do you think an apprenticeship can be more beneficial than traditional study?

An apprenticeship incorporates different aspects of learning, in that I can work remotely in my own time with an online tutor, but I also have a team at work that can share their knowledge in the form of on-the-job training. Being exposed to a variety of learning styles is hugely beneficial, as it’s much more inclusive.

Studying in lockdown — how has that been?

During the current Covid situation, studying gives me something positive to focus on. I have been able to continue my course during this period, as all my studying is ‘on demand’. This has allowed me to continue progressing through the course at my own pace and, as I have extra time which often I’d spend socialising, I’ve been able to get ahead. There is no pressure on me for deadlines, so perhaps surprisingly, balancing my studies with my employment during lockdown has been really enjoyable.

So how exactly do you balance studying and working each day?

With an apprenticeship you get 20% of your working week set aside for studying, so it’s not actually as overwhelming as it may appear. I have been able to block time out of my diary and focus on my studies, and everyone in the company acknowledges and respects this time. Further to this, I also use weekends and the hours after work to study, as I’m more than happy to put in the time.

Finally, what would you say to someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

Go for it! Deciding to take up an apprenticeship has been the best decision I have ever made. I’m constantly learning, growing and putting my studies into practice. I think apprenticeships are great for anyone wanting to gain extra knowledge or put their time to good use, and you gain qualifications in the process that will help you throughout your career.

Aire Global now has three more team members about to embark on apprenticeships — with some in other disciplines too — which consolidates our commitment to the onboarding of Gen Y and Gen Z, as a proud member of the 5% club. This continued investment in our people allows them to seize new opportunities whilst accelerating our drive for excellence!