Eighteen AAT Accountancy apprentices from across Greater Manchester were honoured at a special ceremony earlier this week, after completing their qualifications.
The event – hosted by Damar Training – marked the students’ graduation from the Higher Apprenticeships in Accountancy. The students, who are now qualified AAT Accounting Technicians, all completed the four-year programme while in full-time jobs at firms of accountants and in-house finance teams in the region.
The majority of apprentices were placed in their roles through Damar – a specialist provider of apprenticeship recruitment and training. During the programme, they received one-to-one support in the workplace via regular visits from their trainers, as well as attending seminars at Damar.
Jonathan Bourne, managing director at Damar, commented: “We are extremely proud of the achievements of our apprentices and of the employers who support them. Our aim is to work with students to enable them to progress from their first, entry level role into confident, skilled young professionals. By the time they become Accounting Technicians they have already provided their firms with several years of valuable service.”
Manchester has the biggest financial and professional services (FPS) sector outside London, with particular strengths in relation to legal, accountancy, back office administration and real estate activities. According to recent statistics, FPS firms are very positive about the value of apprenticeships – 89 per cent of businesses see apprenticeships as suited to the sector, compared to 84 per cent of businesses across all markets. The sector is expected to create 45,000 jobs by 2022 – about half of all new jobs across the conurbation.
Narendra Mistry, partner at HURST Accountants, spoke at the event to mark the success of the firm’s first accountancy apprentice Chris Kinsey.
He said: “We have really benefited from the experience, so much so that we are currently recruiting a second apprentice through Damar. The process is very straightforward. In particular, there is no restriction on when apprentices start and plenty of flexibility to ensure that the training doesn’t get in the way of the day-to-day running of our business. Our experience with Damar apprentices has allowed us to move away from the old model, which focussed solely on graduates, and has given us access to a wider pool of talent.”
Mistry added: “I would highly recommend apprentices to other like-minded companies and we have already put several businesses in touch with Damar. It really is a no-brainer; the Government subsidises the cost of the training, making the overall expense, including salary, far cheaper than the alternatives. Plus, you will gain a great member of staff who thoroughly understands your business.”
Sixty guests attended Damar Training’s AAT Accounts Apprenticeship graduation ceremony at Robinsons Brewery in Stockport on 9 February, which was followed by a champagne reception.