22 year old Laura Dudman says she has always wanted to be an accountant. There was a slight detour into Forensic Science which even took Laura to University for a short time, but she is now very firmly on her way to one day becoming a fully qualified accountant.

It didn’t take Laura long to realise that an Apprenticeship would be the best route for her. She explains: “University is not for everybody and it certainly wasn’t for me. I did quickly realise though that I wanted to be able to earn money whilst I was gaining a qualification.”

Laura is studying the AAT accounting qualification and has already successfully passed Levels 2 and 3 and is currently working towards Level 4 when she will qualify as an Accounting Technician.

What does the average week look like for an Apprentice? For Laura a typical day includes the daily reconciliation, banking, raising invoices and logging new invoices and then once a week she will attend Andover College where she is taught the theoretical aspects of her qualification. She says: “My employer is always fully aware of what is covered each week in College so makes sure that I have relevant tasks to complete when back in the office which cements this learning.”

It is this ‘full circle’ approach between Laura, her employer Petty Wood and the College which ensures Laura’s success. An Apprenticeship Liaison Officer will visit her every eight weeks and stay in regular contact between visits with both Laura and her line Manager at Petty Wood.”

Laura won’t be stopping her studies at AAT. It’s onwards and upwards to the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualifications as the goal is to become a fully qualified accountant.

So would Laura recommend an Apprenticeship to her friends? “Absolutely,” she says. “It is a great way to learn while you earn, whilst gaining a relevant qualification.”

Petty Wood

Petty Wood is known for the many premium brands it represents and the organisation looks for the same first class qualities in its Apprentices too.

Management Accountant Deborah Farmer is a firm believer in Apprenticeships and Laura is the third to have come through her Finance Department in the last 12 years. “I much prefer to recruit and train an Apprentice simply because in my experience they are more committed. They seem to recognise the value of being paid whilst gaining an all-important qualification too,” she said.

According to Deborah she would actually prefer an Apprentice over someone more qualified because (and this is on the basis that you get the right one) she has found they are willing to learn, commit themselves to the role and are prepared to work from the bottom up.

Despite the very obvious benefits to the company does Deborah find having an Apprentice hard work? “Our Apprentices have been prepared to put in the time and effort to learn and haven’t required me to be very hands-on at all. I certainly appreciate the value of having Laura and her predecessors in the company, as do the rest of the team.”

How about the College – have they supported Deborah and Laura? “The College keeps me up to date on Laura’s studies and we meet regularly to monitor her progress which is beneficial to both myself and Laura.”

When asked the all-important question: Would you employ more apprentices? Deborah responded with a very firm “yes”.