National Apprenticeship Week – Meet Alex Kent
This week marks National Apprenticeship Week – an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country.
What made you decide to transfer to an apprenticeship?
It was a joint decision by my employer and I to transfer across to an apprenticeship as we saw the benefits that the apprenticeship scheme had over the standalone qualification. This included development days, which focused on skills and behaviour and also a dedicated ‘talent coach’ from our apprenticeship provider, who was able to assist with the general progress of the qualification and they were a point of contact for any concerns or queries.
How does an apprenticeship differ from a traditional trainee route to become an accountant?
One of the main differences between the apprenticeship route and the traditional trainee route is that by being enrolled on the apprenticeship, there was enhanced support and I was allocated the aforementioned ‘talent coach’. Throughout the apprenticeship, I had regular meetings with my talent coach where we discussed the general progress of the apprenticeship and the ACA qualification and set some focused targets to keep things on track. Once I was nearing the end of the apprenticeship, my talent coach was extremely helpful and offered lots of support and guidance in regard to completing the final project report.
Tell us about your experience with the apprenticeship scheme
Overall, my experience with the apprenticeship scheme was extremely positive. Not only did the completion of the apprenticeship result in an additional qualification, but the development days and additional modules available were helpful in evolving my soft skills. I also found that the apprenticeship helped with completing the ICAEW training file and in particular, the development ladders.
What did you enjoy?
I found the development days enjoyable as they were constructed in a way that was interesting and engaging for the whole group taking part.
What did you find challenging?
The most challenging part of this Level 7 Trailblazer apprenticeship for me was that I transitioned across to it having started my studies prior to it being introduced, with under 2 years to complete it, when it is designed to be completed over 3 to 4 years when starting from scratch. While certain elements were of course adapted to reflect this, there were a couple of requirements that had to be completed regardless! However, with the help of the talent coach and support from my employer, the timeframe was manageable.
Would you recommend an apprenticeship to others?
Most definitely! The apprenticeship provides additional structure whilst you are training to become a fully qualified accountant. It also gives you the opportunity to enhance your soft skills, which can assist you with furthering your career. The apprenticeship also opens up additional resources, which helps throughout the whole process. It is a broader training platform that gives the student greater confidence in their role at work and boosts progression opportunities.
What are your future career plans?
My future career plans are to specialise within a particular industry within my firm’s Assurance and Advisory Group and become a mentor to the continuing apprentices at my firm to whom my experience and success could positively help.