Life as a school leaver apprentice

Choosing a school leaver apprenticeship programme can be a tough decision: it’s often difficult to know what to expect and whether the firm will be the right fit for you. Here you can discover more about what you expect when you join our network, from the application process right through to your day-to-day experiences.

Amy joined RSM on the school leaver apprenticeship programme. She works as an accounts assistant in the Accounting and Business Advisory team.

What did you do before joining RSM?

I did A Levels in English, Maths and Psychology and then worked as a business administrator at a college for a year. I knew I wanted to go into accountancy, but I was waiting for the right opportunity. 

Why were you interested in the school leaver programme?

I was always unsure about going to university due to the rising fees - I really didn’t want that much debt at 21. A school leaver apprenticeship accountancy programme seemed a perfect alternative, especially as there are so many options out there. I’ve been earning money since I left school and will gain the same qualifications as my peers but with the bonus of having more experience.

What do you like most about it? 

The amount of support we get. I have great college tutors and I go to my study days with a group of other school leavers from RSM.  My colleagues are also really helpful and supportive as they’ve been in my position before. 

What’s it like to study and work at the same time? 

Working and studying for my first professional accountancy qualification, the AAT, was not a problem as the workload was very manageable from each side. I’m now sitting the ACA professional exams and everything has stepped up. You have more responsibility at work and there is a lot more exam content to learn. But everyone at RSM is really supportive and there’s always someone who is willing to help. My best tip is to plan: plan when you’re going to study at home and exactly what you want to achieve each day. And always find time for a break.

Do you think choosing a school leaver programme has boosted your employability prospects? 

Yes, definitely. I will have more experience than anybody who went to university and that’s invaluable. My confidence has massively increased and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t choose a school leaver apprenticeship programme.

For more stories from RSM school leaver apprentices, please click below: 

Josh - an ABA assistant in Birmingham 

Kristina - a supervisor within in the ABA team 

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