Jack Pinchin joined Mercer & Hole’s Milton Keynes office straight from school as an audit apprentice in September 2020, after his A level exams in Maths, Economics and Geography were dramatically halted by the first wave of the Covid pandemic and school closures across the UK. While life was put on hold for many people, Jack kept his head and made some considered and important decisions about his future.
Mercer & Hole was the only apprenticeship that Jack applied for, but he was initially torn between deciding to go university or choosing an apprenticeship. He did a lot of research into the subject and it was the fast response from Mercer & Hole to his application that encouraged him to choose the latter.
Jack comments: “I wanted to become qualified faster and to both learn and work and when I looked around at firms offering apprenticeships Mercer & Hole really stood out in the marketplace, so I only applied to them. The whole process was fast and I was very pleased to be offered the job. I’m doing an AAT Level 4 apprenticeship at the moment and then I hope to do my ACA chartered accountancy training, which will take three years to complete. This is a quick pathway to becoming qualified and will take a total of five years. Employers look for work experience in young people which you don’t get by going to uni for three years and I also won’t have the student debt to pay in the future.”
After 18 months in the role Jack’s confidence and positivity shine through and he has clearly made the right decision to complete an apprenticeship, but he found the workplace daunting at first after joining straight from school. “I was just so used to being with people my own age, so the work environment was very different.” Jack’s worries however soon subsided as he found everyone he worked with supportive. It was difficult working from home for much of his first six months, but regular calls from the team checking in on him and offering help were appreciated. “People really took the time to support me, which was great, as it was difficult to know what to do with some new tasks.”
Now Jack is working much more independently and has recently been enjoying making audit visits to clients. “It’s great to be on site for a couple of weeks with a client and every client and every business is different ,so already I feel like I’ve learned so much.”
Like many young people Jack was motivated to apply for an apprenticeship after hearing a talk at school on the subject. Uncertainty about exam results, Covid and the economy no doubt also played a part in his decision making and there might now be many other young people considering their future career options. Jack’s advice: “I would recommend everyone leaving school considers an apprenticeship, especially those that don’t want to go to university. It has a lot of benefits but it isn’t easy. While it is a quicker path to longer term career success you have come straight from school and are learning to balance a job with study. I’m lucky as I have had a lot of support.”
Future job security is also important to Jack. “I was apprehensive about an apprenticeship as I had heard that some companies only want you for the first couple of years, but Mercer & Hole want to help you develop and want you to continue learning and they want to keep you with the firm. There are so many options ahead of me.”