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Rachel Spence, Sweeney Miller Law

9 December 2022
Rachel Spence

Rachel began her journey with Northern Skills on the Level 2 AAT apprenticeship programme and has progressed to AAT Level 4 with the same employer supporting her throughout.

Rachel tells us: “Upon completion of my A Levels, I decided that the traditional University route was not my preferred option for many reasons, one mainly being that I was uncertain on what career path that I wanted to follow. From a young age I always had an interest in accounting and finance although I wasn’t sure if it was something that I would want to commit to, and I then stumbled across the AAT qualification.

“After having learned about AAT, I decided that an accounting apprenticeship was something that I would like to try, and it certainly was the right decision. I always had a passion for learning, however I wanted to gain some real-life practical experience, and this is exactly what the AAT apprentice route provided me with.

“Throughout the process Northern Skills have been helpful with knowledgeable tutors who care and want to see their students succeed. I have been given more than enough resources to be able to successfully complete some independent study outside of the classroom to further challenge myself, giving me the best possible chance of success.

“If at any point, I found that I was struggling with something, I knew that the tutors would help me. Their dedication to their vocation as well as their ability to motivate was excellent and they can support you with anything.”

Rachel has completed all AAT qualifications with her employer, Sweeny Miller Law, whilst working within their accounts department. Sweeny Miller Law have strived to create a positive experience for Rachel, ensuring her working role relates to what she is learning within the College, whilst keeping the programme as engaging and informative as possible.

“One of the best things about being an AAT apprentice has been the opportunity to be able to develop and expand my skillset as well as uncovering many skills that I didn’t realise that I had. Before commencing the AAT apprenticeship, I felt that I was a very nervous independent person, however my confidence has certainly grown, as well as my ability to work in a team and to communicate effectively.

“As my confidence developed throughout the programme so did my ability to be able to analyse effectively, as well as my ability to solve problems. The skills that I have learned throughout my apprenticeship will certainly benefit me in the future as all elements have led to me being able to perform better at work.”

“The opportunity to learn both on and off the job is a brilliant experience for anyone looking to begin a new career, or develop the career they are already in. Apprenticeships prove a perfect way to get your foot in the door with an employer looking to provide you with the skills and knowledge needed for your future.

“AAT has taught me the fundamentals of accounting knowledge providing me with a real insight into the accounting industry. It really is a qualification that will continue to be relevant even in an ever-growing world of technology as there will always be a level of demand for finance professionals.

“Due to my ambitious nature and desire to constantly improve I decided part way through my level 4 qualification that I was ready for a new challenge. I realised that some of my free time could be utilised wisely and that I wanted to give something back and thus was appointed parish treasurer. Through

taking on this role, I was able to further develop my accounting knowledge and gain more hands-on experience, which has supported me throughout my level 4 exams.

“Throughout my apprenticeship I have learned that I am eager to continuously develop my knowledge in accounting, as this is what I enjoy and find fascinating. Even when I have found aspects of the course difficult or challenging, I feel that I have really engaged with the content and pushed myself to achieve success.

“I intend to continue with my studies and progress onto one of the chartered accounting bodies, although I am yet to decide which route will be best for me.

“Northern Skills have been great throughout my apprenticeship, and I am pleased to have been able to share my AAT journey with them. Northern Skills is a fantastic place to learn, the apprenticeship team as well as the tutors really do know how to engage with their students.

“I certainly would not hesitate to recommend studying the AAT as an apprentice, but instead I would encourage them to jump at the opportunity. Although apprentice life comes with its own unique challenges at times the skills and experience that you acquire along the way really are invaluable both within the workplace and within College and you gain a globally recognised qualification too!”

Apprenticeship Standard: AAT Level 4