We’ve been celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by sharing colleagues’ development stories and today we meet our Andrew, who changed direction after completing university and enrolled on the Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship at Hastings Direct. Having completed his studies in October 2019, Andrew has progressed within our Financial Planning and Analysis team and is currently a Modelling Accountant.
What was your background prior to joining Hastings Direct and why did you opt for an apprenticeship?
I joined in October 2016 as a graduate with only part time and non-relevant work experience from before university. After completing my degree, I no longer wanted to work in that field (Chemistry) and instead looked to apply my skills elsewhere. Finance was a one of the logical choices, factoring in numerical skills, communication and data analysis, but having no prior experience in Finance I needed a role that was designed to support training and development. Hastings was offering a very appealing opportunity that required no prior finance knowledge but great progression and a wide variety of experience across different areas of Finance.
How did you find your learning experience?
Overall a great experience. It was, at times, challenging to balance the learning and exam workload with regular work, but I received a lot of support from colleagues and line managers, especially around exam time – our learning was always made the priority.
What opportunities have opened up for you as a result of your apprenticeship?
I have progressed through a couple of different roles after completing the scheme – stemming from the permanent role I was offered at the end of my apprenticeship in that team and since then I have remained in FP&A under different roles.
What elements of your apprenticeship are most useful to you?
The professional skills relating to stakeholder management and communication that were learned during my apprenticeship are most useful in my day to day work, in additional to a good understanding of all areas of statutory accounting.
What’s the best thing about doing an apprenticeship programme?
Being able to start from low or no experience and be given appropriate opportunities to develop in a new industry.
What advice would you give someone who’s considering joining Hastings Direct on an Apprenticeship or development programme?
Divide your time wisely. It is easy to push yourself and take on additional work but always make time for any exams and external development that you have committed to. Even though the pandemic has made things challenging this past year, the culture of Hastings is one of the best parts of the opportunity here, so make sure you immerse yourself.
If, like Andrew, you’d like to start a career journey with Hastings Direct, click here to check out our current vacancies and apply.