By Niamh Tracey | 6 February, 2023

Celebrating our Stars: National Apprenticeship Week

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and we want to celebrate our brilliant apprentices Kyle Cramp, Elliot Forbes, Tillie Hands and Josh Cairns. 

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to start a career, whether you are just finishing school or want a change in career. 

Why are apprenticeships important? 

Craig Wells, Associate Director, said: “Apprenticeships offer a business like ours an effective route to recruit and train future leaders within our own organisation and within the industry. They offer a chance to build a relationship where we can maximise the returns to the apprentice through the development of their career while addressing skill and resource shortages. Apprenticeships also align the core values and methods of the individual with that of the organisation while at the same time bringing fresh new ideas into the business.” 

What are the benefits of apprentices in the workplace? 

Craig explains: “Apprentices can provide the much-needed skills and resources that can be shaped and guided within the existing values of the firm but can also help to evolve those values to an ever-changing environment. Communication within apprenticeship schemes can help a business identify potential areas that haven’t been addressed. 

“Apprenticeships give the best of both worlds; they offer young people the chance to learn the theory while applying it in a real world scenario daily. This constant interaction between theory and practical application gives the individual a far better understanding of the work required and the industry in which they have chosen a career.” 

What career progression is possible for an apprentice?  

Alison Scarborough started an apprenticeship as an Accounts Junior at Saul Fairholm in 2005. An apprenticeship appealed to Alison as it provided a way for her to gain qualifications while learning on the job and starting on the career ladder. Alison is now an Associate Director at Saul Fairholm. 

“I was able to build on the skills I learned as an apprentice while studying for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification and continually learn and immerse myself into more complex areas and project work. My current role involves drawing on those years of experience to manage a client portfolio and confidently discuss with clients various aspects relating to their business and accounts.  

“I think my skills in being able to mentor junior members of the team have been enhanced by having been an apprentice. I can relate to the work they are doing and how they are having to learn.” 

Meet our apprentices:  

Kyle Cramp – Accounts Assistant 

Kyle found the advert for the Saul Fairholm apprenticeship via a government website. After he attended two interviews he was offered the apprenticeship which is estimated to take 18 months and involves one day per week at college in Lincoln, where he is studying for the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) exams. 

Kyle says: “Saul Fairholm provides opportunities for me to develop and it allowed me to start my apprenticeship at Level 3 (Assistant Accountant apprenticeship) instead of Level 2 (Accounts/Finance Assistant apprenticeship) as I have an A-level. No prior qualifications or experience were needed but completing an A-level in accounting likely helped me to get the apprenticeship.  

“It’s enjoyable at Saul Fairholm, and I’m given a lot of support by my mentor and other senior members of staff.  

“Apprenticeships are worth considering and definitely a viable alternative to university.” 

In his free time, Kyle likes going out with friends and has an interest in Formula One racing cars. 

Elliot Forbes – Accounts Assistant 

Elliot started an apprenticeship at Saul Fairholm after a friend already employed at Saul Fairholm assured him that it’s a great company to work for. Elliot started an 18-month Level 3 apprenticeship in 2021 and then moved on to a Level 4 (Professional Accounting Technician) apprenticeship.  

“I spend four days a week in the workplace, learning the job and getting experience, and one day at college completing the AAT qualification. Saul Fairholm is a calm and enjoyable place to work. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. There are also lots of people with valuable knowledge and experience which you can learn from. 

“I would highly recommend it because experience is one of the factors that most employers seek and with an apprenticeship, you get plenty of experience. You also get paid too!” 

When not in the office or at college, Elliot has lots of hobbies to take up his free time including watching Manchester United, going out with his girlfriend Lauren, going fishing with his friends and watching Breaking Bad with his cat Stan. 

Tillie Hands – Accounts Trainee 

Tillie was looking for an apprenticeship Level 3 to start in September 2021. After having had no luck finding an appropriate apprenticeship online, Tillie was referred to Saul Fairholm by a financial agency and she was offered an apprenticeship. 

“An apprenticeship duration can vary. The apprenticeship I am enrolled on for Level 4 is for 18 months. At the end of your AAT Level 4 Diploma, you are required to do an end of year self-assessment with an assessor where you write multiple pieces of evidence to discuss in an interview.  

“I am really happy at my job working for Saul Fairholm, I love my work as I am always learning something new every day and I have a great mentor who I work with at Saul Fairholm called Lisa.  

“I would say to someone who is looking for an apprenticeship to make sure you have a good studying schedule as it is hard to fit extra studying in when working four days a week and a study day.” 

Tillie likes reading, going shopping and spending time with her family and her dog Reggie. 

Josh Cairns – Accounts Trainee 

Josh Cairns saw the apprenticeship advertised on Indeed, a job search engine. After an interview he secured the apprenticeship for an Accounts Trainee.  

Josh said: “The people who interviewed me at Saul Fairholm were really kind to me and I really enjoyed talking to the staff members. There was another company that offered me a job in business administration but I chose the Accounts Trainee role at Saul Fairholm as I believed there was more potential to progress.  

“The experience I have gained at Saul Fairholm is really good. I am able to complete client accounts, personal tax returns, business tax and VAT returns and do some client audit tasks which will always be useful, personally and professionally. I am now confident that if I ever run my own business, in the future, the finance side would not be a problem as I would be very competent in this area.  

“Make sure that you enter into an apprenticeship that you will enjoy for years to come and that it offers good career progression so that you can be constantly improving yourself.” 

Josh likes to watch and play sports in his free time and he plays football weekly.  

Here at Saul Fairholm, we are always looking for apprentices to join our friendly team. If accounting is the career path you’re interested in, please get in touch with our Office Manager or call our office on 01522 537575 and ask for Nicki.