National Apprenticeship Week 2022: Q&A with Saskia Hill
This week marks the 15th annual National Apprenticeship Week – a week-long celebration of apprenticeships and apprentices across the country and the positive impact they have on business and the economy.
Following on from last year, the theme for 2022 is build the future. Shining a light on how apprenticeships can help people across the UK to further their knowledge and develop the skills they need for a rewarding career ahead of them.
We sat down with Saskia Hill, Accounts Assistant in Newcastle, to talk about her apprenticeship…
What drew you to accountancy as a career?
I wanted to start on a career path where there are plenty of different opportunities and a variety of roles available.
I liked that I could begin my career in a role and if I realised it wasn’t for me, I could move into a totally different sector of the industry and still put all the skills/qualifications I’ve gained to good use!
I kept reading that many CEOs started off as accountants so thought there must be something in it!
Why did you choose the apprenticeship route?
I wanted to get started and earn money straight away rather than going to university and getting a degree. Once I found out I could get a really decent qualification (AAT) by learning on the job as an apprentice it was an easy decision for me to make!
Now I have started my ACCA qualification, I do feel like I am at an advantage having had the additional years of experience in the industry and the knowledge gained along the way. I also think by putting the theory to use at work, it is a great way of learning which helps a lot for my exams as there is less I need to have to remember.
Why was Haines Watts the right fit for you?
My first interview was arranged by the recruitment consultant that was helping me find a new role, at the time I had decided I wanted a role in industry but I thought I would just do the interview for the experience and keep looking for another role.
I did a complete U turn though as I really enjoyed my first interview with Craig and I knew he was someone I would enjoy working with and I thought the culture at Haines Watts sounded completely different to other firms!
There is also plenty of opportunities for progression. My second interview was with my manager Nicole, straight away I could tell how lovely she is and as soon as I got off the call I rang the recruiter to say I needed the job!
Both interviews were actually via zoom as they were in the middle of lockdown but on my first day which was my first time in the office and I knew straight away I had made the right decision - everyone is just so nice and it’s a lovely atmosphere.
What’s the best part of your job?
Definitely the people! My team is great, they are so supportive and helpful and it is the same across the wider team in the rest of the office. They make the office a really nice place to be.
What are your goals for the future?
My short term goal is to finish my ACCA qualification and for my long term goal, I want to keep working hard and climb the career ladder to hopefully end up in a senior leadership position!
What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship?
Don’t be scared to ask all the questions (that includes during the interview process!) And don’t settle for the first opportunity that comes your way if you don’t think it sounds like a good fit for you.