What our employers and apprentices say about CIPFA's finance apprenticeship scheme
Jonah Woolf, Apprentice at St. Clere’s School Cooperative AcademyTrust
I applied for a CIPFA Finance Apprentice scheme because I believe that it will be an excellent route for me to gain experience in public finance. Also, studying for CIPFA enables me to pursue a well-recognised qualification whilst learning on the job.
CIPFA was great in looking for a suitable employer for me. I was extremely pleased that I got the job offer after my interview with St. Clere’s School Cooperative AcademyTrust, and I'm so grateful to the scheme for giving me such an excellent opportunity. The scheme opened a door that initially seemed impossible for me to enter as I have no previous experience in this field.
I've always wanted to get a role that adds value to the community and I believe that the job I have been offered will do that. Also, there is nothing better than getting a good, strong starting foundation in the working environment with the support of the CIPFA Apprenticeship Scheme. The experience that I will learn throughout the scheme will be invaluable for the progression of my career. I'm looking forward now to becoming a fully qualified CIPFA in the future.
Josh Thomas is 19 from Halesowen, Birmingham. He works at Women's NHS Foundation Trust as a Financial Management Assistant
"Studying is tough enough, let alone combining it with work; trying to balance the two takes some doing. You need a lot of motivation, determination and will power to balance the two. However, you also need to remember that you are doing this for a reason and it will benefit you in the long term.
"I plan to become a qualified accountant through the CIPFA qualification by the time I'm 25 and become a senior accountant or finance manager not long after that. My target salary is £40k-£50k."
Harry Emberson is 19 from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands and works for Nuneaton & Bedworth Council as a Financial Planning Trainee
"I found balancing work and study hard work - you have to be dedicated. I went to work in the day and studied at evenings and weekends, with one day-release a week to attend college. However, you will get rewarded if you remain focused.
"The CIPFA Apprenticeship Scheme and the experience gained in the workplace has now put me on the right track towards a career in accountancy. I’d encourage others to take up the scheme as it’s a great opportunity."
Donovan Bradley is 20 from Potters Bar in Hertfordshire and works for the Greater London Authority (GLA)
"I started working for the GLA in the finance department in September 2014 as an apprentice. I’m currently under the management accounting side of the business accountants unit.
"The finance department is split into three teams - business accountants, treasury management and capital finance and there are 27 accountants across the three teams.
"Areas of work are extremely diverse as I have helped and assisted with the areas of communities and intelligence, housing and land, external affairs and resources directorates.
"From the moment I started my placement, I’ve been given a variety of projects to get involved in, from working budget papers which involves using accounting systems, to preparing reports for the budget holders to monitor progress and spending on projects they are handling. A lot of my work tasks have been linked to the budgeting unit from college, showing how all the elements are actually being put into practice. The theory and practice has been great in solidifying my knowledge.
"Everyone has been beyond warm and welcoming, making the transition comfortable and easy. I look forward to the new challenges 2015 will bring!"
Martin Stevens is 39 from Birmingham. He is employed as an Associate by Grant Thornton
"While studying AAT level 3 at South & City College in Birmingham, a team from CIPFA gave a presentation about the scheme. The apprenticeship scheme offered me the chance to gain 12 months' work experience with one of the world's largest audit firms at the same time as allowing me to start studying towards my CPFA.
"There is an enormous variety to my work at Grant Thornton, the public sector assurance department audits clients across all areas of the public sector, including local government, health, education and not-for-profit. There's also the wide variety of people I work with, both on the client side and within the audit teams. All these variables mean that no two audits are the same. Once I'm fully qualified I'd like to continue working in audit, perhaps gaining experience in private sector auditing, or maybe internal audit.
"Following the completion of my placement, Grant Thornton has offered me a full-time position. I'm now almost half way through studying my CPFA and, if everything goes to plan, I should qualify in June 2016. I sincerely believe that none of this would have happened had I not gained a place on the apprenticeship scheme."
Jon Roberts, Regional Lead Partner Public Sector Assurance, Grant Thornton UK LLP
"The CIPFA apprenticeship scheme presented an opportunity for us to recruit talented young people via a different route. We had four apprentices during the pilot in 2013/14, three of which have subsequently been employed by the firm following the completion of their apprenticeship. We have taken on a further two apprentices for 2014/15 and the firm has also taken on apprentices in other regions this year.
"Our CIPFA apprentices work in our public sector assurance (PSA) business as fully operational members of the team. They receive a Grant Thornton induction and ongoing training in common with our other trainees and are fully integrated into our PSA team.
"I’d recommend the apprenticeship without reservation. The apprenticeship scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for employers to engage with talented young people that may otherwise be screened out by standard recruitment methods."
Sara Ansell, Financial Planning Manager, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
"CIPFA’s apprenticeship scheme appealed as we were keen to get some 'new blood' into the section, we had a vacant post and were looking to introduce a training role rather than a like for like replacement.
"We took on one apprentice who is now a permanent member of staff in a training post, he works within financial planning, but has also gained experience across the wider finance and procurement section. We would encourage this approach to colleagues in other districts and counties."
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