Our finance apprentice shares his story #FireItUp

2 September 2019

I’m Mason and I am the new finance apprentice at Learning and Work Institute.

I have only been at L&W a few weeks, but in my short time here, I am really enjoying gaining valuable skills that I know will help me for the rest of my life. As part of the apprenticeship, I will be studying level 2 AAT accounting at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, which will give me a detailed understanding of the processes that I will be carrying out each day.

People always ask me why I wanted to go into finance, and I struggle to give them an answer other than I have always had a desire for it.

Football was always the main priority in my life, having played for 13 years. Three years ago, after achieving 11 GCSEs, I followed my dream and joined a football academy – It was an offer that I just couldn’t turn down. I was at Ilkeston FC for one year before they went into liquidation. After such a disappointment, I decided to just play for fun, and enjoy the sport again, rather than treating it as a career. I returned home and started my A levels, a year after I originally would have done. I chose to take maths, business and IT as I felt that these would benefit me most in the outside world. During my first year, I did a programme called ‘Career Ready’ that helped to prepare people like me for work. Completing the programme led me to getting some short-term work experience at Sigma Precision Components’ finance department. This increased my desire for a career in finance as I felt as though I excelled in the work I was completing while also enjoying it.

I knew that university wasn’t the route for me, but I was still yet to secure anything for the future. A couple of stressful weeks later, my A levels (the hardest exams I’d ever sat) were over and I got an email from Leicester Education Business Company (LEBC) saying there was a perfect opportunity for a finance apprenticeship. I instantly accepted the interview and thankfully progressed to the next stage. On the day of taking my second interview, I received a call from the chief executive of LEBC to say that I had been successful. This meant the world to me and I was eager to start. A month later, I am sat here at my desk, starting my desired career in finance, for an organisation that I can take pride in working for. All the members of staff have made me feel really welcome and helped me settle in and find my place. This was especially the case when I received my A-Level results, in which I got a B in maths, B in business and a Merit in IT. Considering how much effort I put into them, and how hard they were, I was thrilled by these results and couldn’t believe it at first.

The tasks I do at work will align with my AAT course, which I believe is a very effective way of learning new skills. They will consist of processing invoices, bookkeeping, manipulating finance software, and other basic finance skills that I can move onto at a later stage. My team and manager will support me whilst doing this but will also push me, to assure I produce the best work possible.

I also have external training booked to develop my understanding of the finance software, which will hopefully make me able to train other colleagues. In the future, I would like to pursue the highest-level qualification I can to assure that I continue to gain knowledge in the industry, which will drive me to be the best I can at all times.

Mason Heard

Finance apprentice, Learning and Work Institute