Meet the apprentice: Ben Robison – AAT Level 3
UNW’s apprenticeship scheme is the perfect platform to launch your career in professional services. Over the course of three years as an apprentice accountant, you will gain vital experience and work on a variety of projects across our teams, receiving first class on-the-job training, coupled with formal classroom-based training with our provider Kaplan.
As National Apprenticeship Week 2018 draws to a close, we caught up with Ben Robison, one of our current apprentices, who at the age of 19 is already gaining some invaluable experience and developing new skills here at UNW.
What did you do prior to joining UNW’s apprenticeship scheme?
As I approached the end of my time at Whickham School I was in a bit of a dilemma and was unsure whether to become an apprentice or go to university. I had considered pursuing a career in psychology but decided to go into accounting after learning about the UNW apprenticeship scheme. Having studied business and economics at A-Level, it seemed a good fit for me and it’s a decision I don’t regret.
What are your main day-to-day responsibilities at UNW?
Currently my day is mainly taken up with preparing year-end accounts as well as regular bookkeeping for clients. The role has developed greatly in the 18 months that I’ve been here. Initially I was just doing the basics; analysing client bank statements before I gradually moved into accounts preparation.
My knowledge has progressed a lot since I arrived at UNW, particularly my understanding of the accountancy software I have to use such as Xero and Sage Accounts Production Advanced (SAPA).
Is there anything you have particularly enjoyed since joining UNW’s apprenticeship scheme?
Being an apprentice at UNW means I get to work with lots of very experienced people who are supportive, helpful and easy to talk to if I ever have any problems.
There are some particularly challenging aspects to the work I do, but I only see this as a positive thing. Being thrown in at the deep end (although not too deep!) is a brilliant way to develop and learn. As you’d expect, things gradually get easier to understand as time goes on.
Which department do you work within at UNW, and how has this helped your development and understanding of accountancy?
I work in the Accounting Services department, primarily helping our dental clients, but I also collaborate with members of the payroll or tax teams depending on the client’s requirements.
This variation in work has really helped my development across the board. It’s great to get such valuable experience at this early stage of my career.
What exams are you currently working towards?
After completing level 2 of my AAT studies, which consisted of five exams, I moved on to level 3, completing four exams and I’m currently waiting for my final result before I move onto level 4. The exams have gone well so far, with level 2 exams mainly consisting of bookkeeping and accounting software with a synoptic exam at the end.
What is your favourite aspect of the job, and what is the one piece of advice you would give someone who is considering choosing an apprenticeship over going to university?
I really like working for UNW, particularly because of the culture and people I work with, as well as dealing with clients of all shapes and sizes. Being in direct contact with clients and learning about their business is another aspect I really enjoy.
There’s a real benefit to working full-time at UNW as well as working towards exams with Kaplan, as you’re learning in two completely different environments. This has benefitted me in the long run and provided me with experience that I may not have received if I had gone on to university. That would be my advice, plus it’s great to earn while you learn!
For further information about UNW’s apprenticeship scheme and details on how to apply, please visit our join the team page here
Photo: Front, l-r: Rajan and Anjali Malhotra, Marjorie Ridgway / Back, l-r: Alan Suggett, Karen Simms, Amanda Maskery, Paul Graham
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