Apprenticeships Aren’t Just For School Leavers

Kathryn had a difficult time deciding what she wanted to do after leaving school. She shares how she was the first apprentice to be taken on at the AAB Aberdeen office and what she’s learnt since joining the firm.

AAB Life Blog

Blog3rd Jul 2020

I first heard about Anderson Anderson & Brown in 2015 when my accounting teacher suggested the class attend an open evening at their previous Queens Road Office. It was here that I first learned about the firm, its various departments and the opportunity to gain a professional accounting qualification either with or without a university degree. The event was very helpful and for me a turning point in cementing my decision to pursue a career in accounting.

Like most of my peers after leaving school, I had a difficult time deciding what I wanted to do; pursue further education in college and university or apply for work. Whilst looking for various jobs, I came across an apprenticeship opportunity at one of the Big 4 firms as a Business Support Team Secretary. At that time, office apprenticeships were quite a new option for school leavers, but I was excited by the idea of working, learning and gaining a qualification all at the same time. As luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to be the first apprentice to be taken on at their Aberdeen office.

This role taught me so much, not only enhancing my secretarial and people skills, but also teaching me about the company and, to my delight, accounting itself. Myself and my colleagues realised my passion for accounting and I decided to pursue an accountancy career via the firm’s school leavers programme. However the programme required additional higher qualifications. I took it upon myself to attend evening college classes twice a week whilst also working full time. It was hard work but doing this meant that I was able to gain important and useful qualifications, so it was worth it.

The following February, I was told that the firm had decided to no longer offer the leavers’ program in Aberdeen. It was gutting to have come so far knowing that I couldn’t progress further through the company, but I was dedicated to accounting, so I made the big decision to begin a HND Accounting & Finance course at North East Scotland College whilst working part time.

College offered so many fantastic opportunities and I would encourage anyone to apply. You are able to do what is called a “2+2”, allowing you to progress straight from second year of college to third year of University. Additionally, the lecturers were very supportive and constantly made us aware of new opportunities outside of University. My tax lecturer was the one who told me about the school and college leaver apprenticeship programme at AAB. They encouraged me to apply and I haven’t looked back since.

Since joining AAB in August, I have learned so much about the world of accounting and I already feel much more confident in my abilities thanks to the wonderful team who are all so knowledgeable. There is no such thing as a typical working day in the Business Advisory Group, I really enjoy the variety of roles and responsibilities my position entails. Over the past 10 months I have assisted with jobs such as year end accounts preparations, VAT Returns, weekly processing for our Virtual Finance Function clients as well as being apart of our CCH team and helpdesk. Looking ahead, I am excited to begin studying for the ICAS exams in December. I realise that this is going to be challenging and require a huge amount of dedication, but I am willing to put the time and effort into it; as I have been studying since 2015 for an opportunity such as this one.

By Kathryn McCann, Business Advisory Trainee

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