When I went to leave school two years ago, I was set on the hospitality industry; I wanted to work in hotels, either in events or front of house. Unfortunately, I never got past the initial interview for the jobs I went for. It could have been down to the lack of experience, or the fact I wasn’t fluent in a second language; I don’t know. I was just adamant that I wasn’t going to university. The thought of being stuck in debt for the rest of my life didn’t appeal to me, and the fact that my parents were supportive of any decision I chose was also a deciding factor.
I applied to university and got accepted after I received my grades. But I turned them down. I’d decided that I was going to work at my old Saturday job at a Racecourse on a more full-time basis. I loved the job, and I was good at it. However, the lack of a full-time contract, and only working if and when the events were booked, left me with little job security. Also, by the Christmas, I was managing my own events, such as weddings and parties, so I couldn’t really see any career progression.
I'd got a bit fed up and decided to see what other jobs were out there. I’d looked at my grades and saw that my maths was consistent, so I had a look into Accountancy. I went onto apprenticeships.org.uk – the national Apprenticeships website – and GetMyFirstJob.co.uk and applied to a few vacancies, including one at BT. After a month or so of looking, I found the job I’m at now, had an interview and started the role of Accounts Assistant at the end of March last year.
I really enjoy my job; the staff I work with are friendly, my Director teaches me new things daily and helps me out if I need anything. I go to college once a week during term time where you meet a real mix of people from different careers and backgrounds. I now have the security and different options for career progression in the future, which I didn’t have before. I have finished my AAT Level 3 after being employed at Goddards Accountants for just a year and have continued onto Level 4 which should take another year. Once I’ve finished, I would like to become Chartered with ACCA, which may take another two or three years and my Director has encouraged me to do.
I couldn’t recommend apprenticeships enough. I changed my mind from my university choices in hospitality and management to accountancy within six months of leaving school. Instead of paying £9000 a year for a subject, I’m earning that money for me. I also don’t have to pay for college – the government and the company I work for do. I got to keep my car and I don’t have any financial concerns because I still live at home, for the time being at least.
If I were to give advice to someone who was in my position two years ago, I’d say to always keep your options open, until you know for sure what you want to pursue.