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Alumni Talk on Apprenticeships

Susannah, a recent leaver who went onto do an apprenticeship in Audit with Buzzacott, kindly volunteered her time to come in and speak with three sixth form classes about her apprenticeship and apprenticeships in general.

Susannah completed A levels including Maths, during lockdown when a lot of her sixth form study became home learning. She knew that she didn’t want to go onto University and study remotely but did want to go into Finance. She began applying to apprenticeships in February of her year 13 before obtaining one in May with a start date for after her summer break.

Susannah spoke of applying to many different companies within finance, to the point she lost track of where she applied. Using apprenticeships search sites and company websites including, UCAS and Glassdoor. She mentioned Glassdoor was harder to navigate but would help her find out the in’s and outs of an organisations culture before interview.

Though she would regularly check emails, some companies wouldn’t get back due to high volume of applications, and others would have her check their own recruitment sites. She advised not to take it personally if companies don’t get back, as if you're not suited to that role or company you will be for another. She would go further into researching the company and apprenticeship role, before interviews that could have many stages.

She spoke of the pay being the biggest benefit of her apprenticeship, still a good wage, with a pricey London train season ticket deducted and paid back to the company monthly.  She spoke of being able to afford a work-life balance easily and her work was varied and interesting. London office days could be long, leaving the house at 7 and returning home by 7. Her work involved checking that companies stock takes and profits were what they had recorded that they were. Checking that companies were being honest about their finances. This involved going out and doing stock takes, discussing over the phone and meeting with clients.

Susannah mentioned that she found her commitments of exams and work overwhelming for the first couple of months until she got used to it and that she was the youngest in the company when joining at 18. She now feels well-supported at her company. Many of her work social events were paid for by the company, and she is able to mix with other ‘school leavers’ that joined the company – some at age 21. She pointed out that some colleagues joined straight from school, others after a gap year, or after university hadn’t gone to plan. She is buddied with a colleague who joined the company a few months sooner she can go to for support. Her more experienced colleagues are understanding of her work and exam commitments as they have been through the process themselves. She pointed out she will have obtained the qualifications and the experience when she graduates at level 7 at 22, when some of her friends will be leaving university at level 6 with no experience at the same age.

Students interested in apprenticeships, or have any questions for Susannah can ask for her contact details.

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