As part of National Apprenticeship Week, we’re meeting apprentices who are involved in businesses around the town.

Today, we meet Nicole Hayes, a Trainee Accountant at Boston Borough Council.

Nicole studies at ACCA – Accountancy / Taxation Professional Apprenticeship L7 – Anglian Professional Training LTD. We asked Nicola some questions about her apprenticeship.

What do you love about your apprenticeship?: The opportunity to have on the job training alongside the course. It is great to be able to build a network working with experienced finance professionals. It enforces the knowledge and allows you to apply your skills in a practical environment.

What is the most challenging part of your apprenticeship?: The most challenging part of the apprenticeship is learning alongside working. Sometimes, one becomes a priority over the other and it can be hard to manage the time as you feel pulled in so many different directions.

What support do you receive from your employer?: My employer allows me to take time weekly to attend classes and study before an exam. We set targets and tasks throughout the course to build my accounting and finance skills in line with what I am studying. This is the best support possible as being able to apply your knowledge to a situation concretes the understanding.

How did you find out about your apprenticeship / get information about it?: I have previously completed my AAT Level 3 and Level 4 through apprenticeships and this was the natural progression forward. My training provider and employer gave me the information and opportunity to understand what this course involved and how they could help me achieve my career aspirations.

What stages did you have to go through to secure your apprenticeship?: I originally applied for a Business Administration apprenticeship in Human Resources where I was successful in my interview and was awarded the job. From here, I completed my apprenticeship and with the help of my employer they understood what I wanted to achieve and after being unsuccessful in an interview to cover a maternity Sundry Debt Collector role I was given the opportunity to begin my Finance career and start my AAT qualifications.

What skills are required to apply for your specific apprenticeship?: To get my Business Administration apprenticeship a number of GCSE’s grade A* to C were required and the ambition to work. To start my AAT Level 3 I needed 5 A* to Cs and the passion to study hard and continue to complete my tasks on a daily basis.

What made you choose an apprenticeship?: I completed 2 weeks of work experience in an Accountancy firm where I discovered I could achieve the same career through an apprenticeship and attending University. An apprenticeship offers practical experience and training while earning, which was more favourable to me than attending University then having to sit the same ACCA exams years later.

Do you work elsewhere aside from your apprenticeship, or is this your sole job: I am a Gymnastics Coach – I teach children in the community during the evenings.

Has COVID-19 had an impact on your apprenticeship? If so, how? Covid-19 has impacted all ways of working, my exams are remote or in a test centre under government guidelines and our learning is remote. Adapting to these situations during an already stressful and difficult experience is hard but there are others going through the same experience and working together has allowed our learning to continue.

After completion of your apprenticeship, do you hope to are retained as a permanent member of staff?: I became a permanent member of staff when I began my ACCA apprenticeship. I hope to continue my career in my current employment.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?: I hope to be in a more senior role, taking on responsibility and developing my leadership skills.

Whilst Boston Borough Council don’t have any current advertised apprenticeships, anybody interested in future employment or potential apprenticeship openings are encouraged to keep an eye on the authorities’s website – https://www.mybostonuk.com/working-for-us/