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Apprenticeships have become increasingly popular among school leavers in recent years. The chance to ‘earn while you learn’ and gain hands-on experience alongside industry standard qualifications is a far more appealing – and secure – route to employment for many young people than a university degree.

This has certainly been the experience for CTT Accountancy’s youngest recruit, Alana Stanley, who joined the team in September 2021. Alana is doing her apprenticeship in accountancy whilst studying to become a chartered accountant, and is proving herself an asset to CTT as well as acing her studies – no small feat! “So far, it’s turned out very well!” says Alana, who’s been an apprentice with us for the last eighteen months. “I’m quite lucky!” she adds.

Apprenticeship vs university

Despite her successes since starting with us, accountancy wasn’t always part of Alana’s career plan: “For A-levels, I did Biology, Geography, and Psychology. Not accountancy or mathematics at all,” she explains. “I applied for a geography course at university, and my plan was to study geography in London.”

In the run up to her big university move, however, Alana began having second thoughts about her decision. “I kept thinking: Is this really what I want to do?” she reveals. She was not only concerned about the price of a university degree and accommodation fees, but also securing a job once she finished. “It can be a bit of a struggle getting a job after university, because although you have a degree, you haven’t got the experience,” she says.

In search of alternative pathways, Alana reached out to a career advisor at her school, who suggested she pursue an apprenticeship; this sounded like a more appealing option to Alana: “You’re getting the qualifications but also the work experience.”

Starting at CTT Accountancy

Having heard about the apprenticeship opportunity at CTT Accountancy, Alana did some research and sent in her application for the role. The interview process was stress-free and seamless. “I came in twice. The first interview was about me, my CV, and the supporting background. The second interview covered what the day-to-day would look like in my role at CTT Accountancy,” she recalls.

Alana began her role working towards the AAT Level 3 qualification in Accountancy. The apprenticeship course is carefully laid out to take Alana through the necessary qualifications: AAT Level 3 and 4, eventually moving on to the ACCA – equivalent to a Master’s degree in Accountancy. “The end goal is to become a chartered accountant,” Alana states.

Reflecting on her time here so far, Alana’s pleased with her professional progress and learning journey. Starting out with basic accounts preparation and book-keeping jobs, she now deals with various tax compliance work including IHT100 returns and CTT returns, “When I first started, I’d go out to a client with CTT Accountancy’s director Nick [Harrison] to shadow what he was doing. Now I go out on my own, so that’s been a nice transition. I’ve gradually gotten more independent,” she shares.

Ups and downs of an apprenticeship

According to Alana, the trickiest part of the apprenticeship route has been finding a good work-study balance. Alana spends four days a week working here at CTT and attends college classes once a week. Speaking about her schedule, she says, “It was hard to adjust to at the start, having to go home and be like, right, I have to revise now.”

However, one thing that’s really helped Alana in her professional studies is the support of CTT Accountancy’s team. “The office is very supportive. If I ever need help, I can ask for help. I’m never like, ‘oh gosh, I can’t do this.’ Everyone is really nice.”

Here at CTT Accountancy, we’re a close-knit team, and it is important to us that all our trainees are given the resources and support they need to excel in their studies. Alongside weekly college classes, our apprentices attend a meeting every eight weeks with a member of our staff and their college tutor, in which we review their progress, and plan their ongoing development.

Astounding exam results!

Over the last year, Alana has taken four exams as required by her apprenticeship, and with the support of the college and our knowledgeable CTT Accountancy team members, she’s obtained a distinction, with an incredible score of 96%. “I felt very relieved. I got one qualification done, and now I can move on to the next!” says Alana.

Beyond her study support, Alana’s favourite aspect of being part of CTT’s Accountancy team is the opportunity for professional growth – a key part of our culture throughout CTT. “The group pushes that for everyone they’ve got here, pushing for us to get the growth we want,” Alana says, “I love working here; I’ll be happy to stay.”

Interested in an accountancy apprenticeship?

Our team at CTT Accountancy is committed to nurturing the best talent and supporting individuals in their pursuit of accountancy qualifications through our CTT Apprenticeship route. We’re extremely proud of Alana and her achievements and can’t wait to see her progress into a fully-fledged chartered accountant.

If, like Alana, you’d like to pursue a career in accountancy but aren’t drawn to the standard university route, an apprenticeship might be the right choice for you. Click here to enquire about apprenticeship opportunities with CTT Group.