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National Apprenticeship Week: Develop skills for life in accounting

Are you looking to begin a long-lasting career in a field that you’re passionate about? Perhaps an apprenticeship could be the right route for you. At EKW Group we’re proud to nurture local talent into the specialist accountants of tomorrow, with our apprenticeship schemes providing an accessible route to success.  

Take Dan, for example, who started his apprenticeship at the beginning of 2022. After two years of learning on the job with us, he has shared an insight into what life is like as an EKW Group apprentice.  

Dan Buttress – Assistant Accountant Apprentice

Q: So, could you share a bit about your day-to-day and how you ended up here? 

I was eager to get experience in the accounting industry, rather than studying alone – the thought of earning a competitive salary whilst I studied was really attractive to me. At the same time, I was drawn to the size of EKW Group and its involvement in the franchise industry, knowing this would broaden my bookkeeping skills, working across a range of different industries.  

My day-to-day involves a combination of accounting tasks, including bookkeeping, monthly management accounts and quarterly VAT returns. There’s also quite a large client-facing aspect of the role, which has really boosted my confidence and understanding of who I’m working with.  

Q: How has the apprenticeship programme contributed to your professional and personal development? 

I’ve really benefitted from being able to study and work at the same time. It’s been so interesting to learn the theory behind the practical work I do day-in-day out – I find this really helps me gain great knowledge and experience. 

At times, it can be a challenge to juggle multiple workloads when working with clients who have similar deadlines to each other. I’ve definitely learnt how to prioritise my tasks a lot better than when I first started. Part of working on a team like ours also means that if someone needs help meeting a tight deadline, I’m confident enough in my ability to leave my own work and step in to help. 

Working with so many different clients requires good organisation, which I now apply to my everyday life, ensuring that things go smoothly (the majority of the time!). I’ve also become better at accepting my mistakes – I now always look for the lesson I can learn from a mistake, rather than letting it ruin my day.  

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship at EKW Group or in general? 

An apprenticeship is a great opportunity if you want to gain responsibilities and valuable insights whilst gaining knowledge on the subject. My training at EKW Group has been ideal for aligning the theory I’m studying at a specific point in time with the practical aspect of my everyday work. 

I’ve always felt really supported at EKW Group; if I don’t understand something, I’m comfortable to ask the team around me for further support. The team always make sure I’m not swallowed up by the amount of work, so that I’m equipped to meet deadlines! Sometimes I come across a topic that I don’t understand at college – when I come back into the office, though, there’s always someone who can guide me through it. On top of this, our People and Culture Manager, Eleanor, operates by an open-door policy, which is comforting to know that she’s there to talk to. 

Q: Can you tell us about any rewarding experiences and opportunities for career development that have been offered to you? 

In September last year, I was selected to take part in the first ever ETL Challenge, where I travelled to Barcelona to work alongside the team at ETL GLOBAL España. This was an amazing experience to meet new people within the professional services network that EKW Group is part of, and to learn about the different reporting obligations in Spain. Being able to discover the cultural side of a beautiful city was something I would never have expected to experience during my apprenticeship! 

Training-wise, once you’ve completed your AAT Level 4 with EKW Group, there’s the opportunity to go onto the ACA and ACCA programme to carry on studying and working towards the chartered accountancy certificate. There may also occasionally be opportunities to train as a Financial Advisor, where you would switch into a role that offers advice on investment, life insurance, mortgages and pensions. 

Q: How does EKW foster a positive and collaborative environment for apprentices to thrive? 

Our office itself is a clean and tidy space, which I think really helps to boost my productivity on a day-to-day. With this, the open plan layout of the office enables collaboration between each team so it’s quite a lively office to work in!  

Throughout the year, we enjoy various seasonal activities, such as festive games, receiving Easter eggs, and taking part in topical quizzes. Each month as well we’re treated to something fun on payday, such as breakfast or lunch! 

Does a career with EKW Group sound like the path for you? For more information about our apprenticeship opportunities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Eleanor Taylor at [email protected]  

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