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Matt Pollard

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What made you think about an apprenticeship?

An isometric test at school showed I would be suited to careers in finance and accounting. My A levels in Maths, History and Financial Studies also supported this and so I began to consider my options. Uni didn’t really appeal to me and I thought it would be better learning on the job. Earning, rather than going to uni and having debt hang over me, also appealed. Initially, I saw an apprenticeship as a quicker route to qualification, in terms of a two-year apprenticeship opposed to a three-year course at uni.

How did you get a place on the Higher Apprenticeship Programme?

My search for opportunities began on google, looking for local firms, and I contacted Mercer & Hole asking for work experience. I received an email encouraging me to apply for an outsourcing apprenticeship role. I sent my CV with a cover statement and then had a telephone interview. This was followed by two-hour interview, where I did some tests on a computer for the first part and then had a face-to-face interview with members of the HR and Outsourcing teams. Soon after, I heard I had been successful–I felt quite lucky!

What has your experience of the Higher Apprenticeship Programme been like?

Coming straight from school, I found working with adults a weird experience at first. My confidence was low as I didn’t know much within the role and I was limited as to what I could do. Within quite a short amount of time though, my confidence and knowledge increased. My line manager was really supportive and everyone around me was really understanding, helpful and patient. Repeating the same tasks helped too; the work experience of actually doing the work rather than being told has provided me with certainty. Now I’m quite confident with management accounts, processing invoices on various accounting packages and doing VAT returns.

Studying was hard at first because it was a case of finding the time, but I quickly adjusted to make it work. I’ve completed all the courses and am completing my portfolio, evidencing my work for AAT.

What’s next?

I am going to be working with the Audit team, studying for my ACA qualification along with the graduate trainees. That’s for the next three years and after that, well, I don’t really know. In the meantime, I am really looking forward to going out to clients, going on audits and getting more experience. I am very happy with the route I’ve taken and I have grown in confidence along the way.

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