Hello, my name is Ryan Chawner and I am an accounts apprentice here at NELFT. I started my level 2 AAT Apprenticeship with a recruitment firm in the finance department in September 2015. I passed my Level 2 AAT and then moved on to NELFT in November 2016 to start my Level 3 Apprenticeship, which I will explain why later on in this blog. I have wanted to become an accountant since I was about 14 years old.
Why did you decide to take up an apprenticeship?
I have wanted to become an accountant for a long time, so it wasn’t a case of what I wanted to do; it was about how I wanted to do it. I originally wanted to start an apprenticeship since I left school but had no other option but to go to college. While I was at college, I kept searching for apprenticeships and finally one come up. Personally, I feel like an apprenticeship is a lot more helpful than a college course. It allows to learn while working, putting the learning into a real life scenario not just onto paper. It also helps that you get paid while doing it. The amount of support you receive, and wideness of knowledge available at the work-placement is so helpful and different views on the same issue.
What was the attraction of joining NELFT?
Like I have previously said, I was working at a recruitment firm in the credit control department and I just felt like I wasn’t learning anymore after I had been there for a year. I then saw this apprenticeship position at NELFT up for offer and thought ‘why not’. As I was reading the job specs and description, I saw that I would be moving around the three different departments in finance over the course of 18 months. This then made my decision that I wasn’t letting anyone else get the job apart from me. I also liked the fact that it was working for the NHS, even though I’m not saving people’s lives, I feel like I am contributing to the service that we can provide to the general public and see ways of improving in the future.
What roles have you had during your apprenticeship with NELFT?
Since I started at NELFT in November 16, I have been in 3 teams within the finance department;
I started in Financial Services, which deals with things such as Profit & Loss A/C, Trial Balances, Statement of Financial Position, Charities & dealing with Debtors and Creditors. They do a lot more - but these were just a small portion of what I touched on.
I then moved into Costing and Reporting Team which, as it says in the title, deals with the reporting of the financials and the costings in the contracts. This includes dealing with overseas visitors, NCA contracts & Board reports going to all the directors.
Finally, I moved into Business Partnering Team which deals with budgets and actual spend costs. This team is all about the relationship built between you and the front line staff.
In all of these teams, I got taught loads of different bits and as you go on and gain the knowledge and skills, they allow you to have the responsibilities of your own tasks and dealing with the changes.
What skills has the apprenticeship enabled you to develop?
Where do I start? I have gained so much knowledge and skills since I’ve been here at NELFT, like I’ve mentioned previously, the amount of different views you get on the same task is so vast which allows you to then deal with the problem in your own way. It builds on your confidence and social life. Not only have I gained the knowledge and skills that will get me far, I have gained friends within the workforce who have helped me build on those skills.
What are your plans for the future?
I take each day as it comes and just want to be doing good at the present moment in time. I want to gain and build on my skills to be the best accountant I can be (as cringeworthy as it sounds). I want to go as high and as far as I can within the accounting sector and be able to help as much and introduce more ways to make things easier for people.
What advice would you give to someone considering an apprenticeship in NELFT/NHS?
Go for it!! I’ve always said that life is what you make it. NELFT has given me the opportunity to build on my knowledge and career, and has given me the support both on a personal and a professional life.
Thanks to Ryan for revealing the benefits of an apprenticeship. For more information about apprenticeships at NELFT, visit the website at: www.nelft.nhs.uk/nelft-apprenticeships