Joining a Business Apprenticeship – Joe

schools reportage

Joe joined the Business Apprenticeship programme in 2016 after completing his studies at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College. He now works in the Birmingham office in our IT Risk and Assurance Service Line

What makes you decide to join the Business Apprenticeship programme instead of going to university?

As it happens, I went to the University of Leeds after leaving college to study Maths. I decided not to complete my degree, and a year later I’m here loving life at EY as an apprentice! If I’d been more willing to look at alternative options during my final year at college, I don’t think I would have ended up at University, but I was unsure what else was out there. As soon as I realised that I didn’t want to be at Uni, I was forced to think about other opportunities, and that’s how I found the EY Business Apprenticeship. Once I’d studied the role and the course I was in no doubt which was the better option. The opportunity to gain valuable business experience in the workplace, while studying for an incredibly respected qualification alongside was exactly what I wanted, and I wish I’d been more open to other ideas in my final year at college.

Which department do you work in EY and what do you do on a day to day basis?

I work in IT Risk and Assurance within Advisory. Every few weeks we’re tasked with working on different clients, and we’re out of the office approximately half of the time. In ITRA we work alongside Audit to provide assurance around the financial impact that the IT systems may have on the financial reports, and my job is never the same across two days

Do you have to be an IT expert to join IT Risk and Assurance?

Not at all. All that’s needed is an interest in technology and a willingness to learn. I dropped IT at Year 9 in High school, and now I’m working in it! Obviously being an IT expert would help but it is not essential. No ability in IT is expected from day one, and EY look for potential rather than your current skills. There are fantastic online training courses to help improve your IT skills.

What skills from your subjects studied at school/college have you been able to transfer to your role at EY?

During college I studied A-level Maths and AS-Level Further Maths which has given me a fantastic understanding of numbers, and is easily translatable into an accountancy environment. However the most important thing to transfer to your role at EY and isn’t pinned down to a certain subject is work ethic. At school and especially college, if you want good grades you have to work hard and it’s the same here at EY, if you want to do well and learn quickly hard work is key. 

How has EY supported your transition from school/college into a career in business? 

EY has been incredibly supportive when it has come to the transition from college into my career. There is a fantastic emphasis on giving us the time to grow into the role rather than expecting us to seamlessly transfer into work-life. From what I’ve seen there is an importance throughout the company on having a good work-life balance, and in my first few months I’ve had loads of support from my buddy and my counsellor who have been making sure that I’m not being overworked. Concerning the qualification, the other trainees and I don’t have our first exam until May 2017, which allows us to get our feet under the table before the stress of exams kicks in, which is a really nice touch.