10 / 3 / 2015 8am
Lorenza Ravellese - started as an apprentice in the finance department, she is now an assistant management accountant.
Despite being offered a place to study at university, I decided that it wasn’t the right time for me due to the extortionate rise in tuition fees. I set myself a challenge. I would take the three years that I would have spent studying at university and find myself a job, so I could gain experience, earn money and work my way up.
Job hunting wasn’t easy, with employers wanting either a degree or relevant work experience, I felt stuck. How is someone who doesn’t want to go to university, but wants to kick start their career by working their way up meant to get a job?
That’s when I thought about participating in an apprenticeship. I’ve always known about apprenticeships, but never considered one. It’s a way to get your foot in the door, in addition, you are gaining valuable experience, along with qualifications and you get paid.
I was offered a one year Level 2 apprenticeship in the finance department of North Middlesex University Hospital. I started off with admin work, but as time went on I was given more responsibilities and was involved with various financial tasks. At the same time, I was given a fantastic opportunity to study AAT. This tied in well with my apprenticeship in finance. Through this I was able to gain a more in-depth understanding of the world of finance.
My colleagues and managers played a huge part in my apprenticeship experience. From the first day I stepped into the finance department I felt welcome. Their encouragement and support gave me the motivation and confidence I needed to complete the work. I was very fortunate to meet a department full of people who wanted me to develop and progress as much as I did.
Every fortnight there would be an apprentice meeting, where all the apprentices would get together along with our apprentice co-ordinator and discuss how we were finding the process. It was comforting to know that you could go to the meeting and receive support and advice from people who were in the same position as you.
When my apprenticeship was coming to a close, there was talk of possibly staying on to complete my Level 3 apprenticeship, but instead I was offered a permanent job in the finance department as an assistant management accountant.
Thanks to this apprenticeship I am one step closer to achieving my goal. In addition, if it wasn’t for this apprenticeship I would not have met the people that I have and the prospect of working in finance would not have occurred to me, despite it being a fundamental department in any organisation.
My apprenticeship has been a foot in the door for a career in finance and the NHS. I have also been given the chance to further myself in my studies, to hopefully one day attain a professional accounting qualification.
I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship, not as an alternative to university, but as a next step from leaving school. The experience you earn, no one can take away from you. The apprenticeship is what you make of it, all that hard work and long hours spent do pay off in the end.