Four apprentices – Nathan Powell, Daniel Sullivan, Thomas Pattison and Zainab Carr-Miller, have successfully completed a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) apprenticeship programme at the Gatwick office for leading business and financial adviser, Grant Thornton UK LLP.

The scheme, which is now available in 5 regions across the UK, was started as a way of encouraging new, young talent to enter the accountancy profession with fewer barriers. By combining job training with studying for an accountancy qualification, it provides young people with great opportunities, with no university debts or exemptions from future professional qualifications.

Senior Manager at Gatwick, Jamie Bewick explains: “The scheme fits well with Grant Thornton’s values as a firm by promoting social mobility through finding talent outside of the more established recruitment channels. It results in more career opportunities for young people and importantly from my point of view, engages more young people in public sector finance. It has been particularly beneficial for building our Public Sector team in the Gatwick office by finding talented and enthusiastic young people from the local area who have really engaged with the office.”

A range of employers take part in this scheme, including NHS, Local Authorities and Accountancy Firms, and 90% of participants go on to work with their primary employer. The scheme is aimed purely at school leavers, and apprentices are recruited with either relevant A Levels or AAT (Association of Accountancy Technicians) Level 3. In addition to the scheme, they attend college one day per week to study subjects such as Financial Performance, Financial Statements and Business Tax.

“It was a good opportunity to get started within the industry at a large company, whilst working towards a qualification at the same time,” added Daniel Sullivan. “It was a step up from college, but it was a challenge that I enjoyed, and I was really pleased to be made permanent,” agreed Nathan Powell. “It has opened up lots of other potential opportunities for me, as the scheme is only a year-long and doesn’t restrict me into a specific path,” said Thomas Pattison. Zainab Carr-Miller also commented: “It was a great way to gain an insight into the accountancy industry, gain experience and study towards a qualification at the same time. I also thought it would be a good way for me to decide if accountancy was the right path for me to go down. It is, so I am off to the University of Nottingham to study accountancy starting in September. I would recommend the scheme to anyone who would like a taster of what the industry is like.”

Grant Thornton will be taking on a further 3 school leavers and 7 graduates at Gatwick this year.