“I felt like if you didn’t get good GCSEs then it would prevent you from going any further in life, but this wasn’t the case.”
Fiona has been working for Instructus for nearly two years and has worked her way up from Business Administrator to Finance Assistant in this time. Having recently started her Level 3 Assistant Accountant apprenticeship, we’re having a chat to see what her expectations were before starting and how she got on in her first session…
How did you feel before you started your apprenticeship?
I felt nervous before my first session, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s quite nerve-racking thinking about going back into a classroom to learn. I suppose it is like starting fresh as you don’t know anyone there.
Did you get straight into the training?
Yes! So, we were working on something called trial balance, which I do within my role at Instructus. Although this is something I do at work, I use Sage software to generate the information for me, and in the session we were learning how to do this manually. We’ve been given a few tasks in a work booklet to complete for our next session.
Are you confident you can bring the skills you learn in the classroom to the workplace?
Definitely. As we’re going back to basics with finance it’s a good opportunity for me to work things out, instead of having to rely on Sage. It’s good to know why and how things work behind the scenes.
Has your manager been supportive of your apprenticeship?
Yes, for sure. I didn’t think I was going to be doing an apprenticeship, but it was my manager that actually looked into it for me. He also queried things with the training provider about re-siting exams, as he knew I was worried this would affect me. When it came to training on the job, he has suggested doing tasks I learn at the training centre and bringing it into my role to help me along the way.
How do you feel about balancing the workload from the training centre and work?
At the moment it isn’t an issue as we haven’t received much work from the training centre. I will have someone working alongside me soon, so that will reduce my stress and worries once we have more work to do. If it does get to the point where I’m struggling with the workload, it will be a case of advising my manager. We will then try and figure out a way where I can prioritise my college work.
What have you learned about apprenticeships since working for Instructus?
I always thought an apprenticeship were for 16-year olds that didn’t want to go to college or sixth form, but anyone can complete one. Since working for Instructus, I’ve learned that you can start an apprenticeship in your 50’s if you want to.
Before starting here, I didn’t realise that you could start an apprenticeship alongside your current job. I thought you had to start your apprenticeship and then the training provider helped you find a job. If you decide to get the apprenticeship first and then find a job, you’re more than likely to go on the apprenticeship basic pay. With me though, I have been able to get my job first and then started my apprenticeship, so I’m on a salary.
What are your ambitions for after your apprenticeship?
Once I’ve completed my apprenticeship, I would love to be able to see how I can qualify myself even further. I want to look into the level 4 training or a small finance course, like payroll and pensions. One day I would love to become a finance manager and have my own team to manage. I look forward to being able to use the skills and knowledge I learn throughout my course in the workplace and help others around me.
Fiona is taking her apprenticeship with Starting Off, a Northants-based independent training provider. View their full range of apprenticeships here ⇢