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What was your pathway into an apprenticeship?
I joined Mercer & Hole in September 2020 straight from school as an Audit Apprentice. My school was very good at pushing students into thinking about their careers and in Year 12, I went to the Sir John Lawes Career Fair, which Mercer & Hole were there to discuss potential career opportunities.

I had three weeks work experience including one week at Mercer & Hole and I was certain after that it was the pathway for me.

I took English Literature, Geography and Maths at A Level but I was never tempted to go to university. The school leaver programme is exactly what I wanted to do and a great pathway and something which more young people should think about.

The process to apply was straightforward and began with an online application where I submitted my CV and cover letter. I was invited to a telephone interview, which I did quite well in, so I was invited to the verbal and numerical tests. After successful completion of the tests I went on to take the data accuracy test. Last, I was invited to a face to face interview with the hiring manager and HR. I was delighted to be offered the job in February 2020, so despite everything that followed and not being able to take my exams due to the pandemic, I knew as long as I got my results I would be starting work.

How has it worked?
It’s been a challenging time working from home during lockdown, and whilst technology has meant that I could still speak to people face to face and we could share screens, it wasn’t quite as quick as being able to walk over to someone in the office and ask them, which I can now do, as we can be in the office.

Mercer & Hole has been very helpful in making sure I have support for the exams and they have helped me to manage my time effectively. Due to the pandemic, all my learning in the first year was online until restrictions lifted when we all got to meet in person. I do prefer to learn in the classroom as I find the tutoring is more impactful in person.

One of the best things now is that when I solve a problem on my own, I’m using my knowledge and experience gained and that is really satisfying.

What advice would you give to someone considering the programme?
Don’t be afraid to go straight into work after school. Be open and honest and don’t be afraid to ask questions in the workplace. It is a great way to gain knowledge and as a school leaver, no one expects you to know everything. Mercer & Hole have been happy to help, patient and they make sure I know what I’m doing. The best thing about this route is that it opens so many doors for you early on in your career. I’ve been out to my first client site visit on an audit and it was a great experience which I really enjoyed.

What’s next?
I have my final Level 4 exam next month and combined with this I will put a portfolio of evidence together of everything I have achieved during the two years. I will be supported by Mercer & Hole during my ACA exams to be a Chartered Accountant which will take three years to do. I’m really enjoying the journey I’m on, the work I’m doing and where I’m working.

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