By Imogen Llewellyn
Imogen Llewellyn, who completed her four-year apprenticeship last year, shares her experiences of working and learning at the same time to gain a professional qualification.
At school, I realised I was much better at learning by doing so an apprenticeship really appealed to me as opposed to university, especially as I would be able to study for a professional qualification and become a chartered accountant whilst I was working.
A friend of a friend from high school had joined Deloitte’s apprenticeship programme three years earlier and was one of the first intake groups. When she heard I was looking at Deloitte, we went for a coffee and talked about the business and the different roles there. She helped me understand what was involved in the position I was interested in applying for and also gave me some tips about the application and interview process. I applied, was successful and in September 2016, I joined Deloitte’s BrightStart apprenticeship programme as an associate in audit in Cardiff.
I’m part of the Deloitte Private audit team and the clients we advise are owned by private shareholders. In my current role as assistant manager, I am responsible for communication between the audit team and the client. For this, I ensure that the work has been assigned to the team, coaching more junior people on my team to ensure they understand what they need to do.
Pre-COVID, I was always meeting new clients, learning about their businesses and working with new audit teams across the South West and Wales, which really suits me as I love to be busy. I would often be on site with a client and part of a new team of three or four people every three weeks or so. Through this, I was able to experience and learn from the inside how privately owned businesses and their processes are run at both ends of the spectrum, which I feel has made me a better auditor.
Even though I joined as an apprentice, I was always offered the same opportunities as colleagues who'd joined the firm as graduate entrants - everyone is treated as equals. I also have worked with more senior people, such as directors and partners, which is such a valuable learning experience.
Each year, you are challenged out of your comfort zone, learn as you progress up the ranks, thereby gaining more experience and given more responsibility.
Over the four-year apprenticeship, I completed my exams two at a time and the learning fitted around my work with our audit clients. At times, it could be really challenging as you might be studying for exams whilst also juggling what could be a demanding role. This was only during certain times of the year, though, and I’d be with my friends who were also sitting exams, so we felt we were in it together and supported each other through. I have to say that a real highlight of my apprenticeship has been the people I have met. I am very lucky to have made amazing friends, and working alongside your friends is so much fun!
I have now been with the firm for four and a half years and in November 2020, I gained my ACA qualification. My apprenticeship has now ended and along the way I also gained my level 4 and level 7 qualification in Accounting and Tax. I am now a second level assistant manager and I have been leading my own audit teams for the last two years.
All my hard work has paid off - I am 24 years old, with no student debt, and a qualified chartered accountant! I am now eager to learn more and take advantage of all the opportunities Deloitte has to offer.
Apprenticeship Week Wales celebrates apprenticeships and the value they bring to employers and learners across Wales.
#WPCYMRU #AWWALES #AskAnApprentice
Deloitte is a supporter of the campaign and, by sharing our stories, we would like to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career. We’re one of a number of employers celebrating the apprenticeship community, highlighting the opportunities to earn a wage and gain new skills and qualifications, and showcasing the resilience of apprentices and their employers during the pandemic.
Explore Deloitte’s virtual Spring careers festival, a programme of virtual events that potential applicants can join, as well as parents, teachers and careers advisors. These range from discovery sessions, where people can chat online with our student recruitment team or current apprentices, skills workshops as well as ‘Meet Deloitte’ sessions.