Tabitha’s path to success
Every year, Carpenter Box welcomes a new intake of trainees, studying a range of professional accounting qualifications. Trainees are mentored by our team of qualified and experienced accountants, business advisers and auditors – many of whom began their own careers at Carpenter Box as trainees!
Newly qualified trainee Tabitha Nicholls from our Business Services team in the Worthing office went down a slightly less traditional route of transferring to an apprenticeship. She provides us with some insight into life at Carpenter Box as an apprentice!
What made you decide to transfer to an apprenticeship partway through your studies?
It was a joint decision by my employer and I to transfer across to an apprenticeship. 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. They were able to assist with the general progress of the qualification and were a point of contact for any concerns or queries.
How does an apprenticeship differ to the traditional trainee route of becoming an accountant?
As part of the apprenticeship, you have to complete an end point assessment. You answer four questions to show how you have developed and that you are competent in your role. This is a four thousand word essay and gets submitted just before your final exam. Also, you have to receive 20% off the job training and as part of this I attended development days. This allowed me to develop my soft skills alongside learning the technical theories which the exams focus on.
What were the challenges and triumphs along the way?
I had a talent coach as part of my apprenticeship studies. Due to job changes my talent coach got replaced twice throughout my apprenticeship. This was difficult because there were gaps where I didn’t have a talent coach. However there was always someone to ask in the firm if I needed support.
What support and advice did you receive from your colleagues that helped you through?
There are a large number of trainees at Carpenter Box, which means that most of the time someone is doing the same exam as you or has just recently passed it. This allowed us to go to each other for support on areas we didn’t understand in the exams or seek advice on how best to revise for a certain exam. This meant I could gain a better understanding of the qualification as I progressed, and I never felt out of my depth.
Do you have any advice for trainees who are just starting out?
Make sure you take advantage of all the support that is available for you, Whether that is from the apprenticeship provider or internally at the firm. Everyone has been in the same place as you before, and will be more than willing to help you with any questions.
And finally, congratulations! Now you’re qualified where do you see your career taking you?
I would like to stay on at Carpenter Box and progress my career throughout the firm.
Thanks Tabitha – do you have any plans to celebrate your achievement?
Thank you! I will be celebrating with family and friends – and maybe a holiday when the time allows!