Accounts apprentice Abbie Conquest explains her move to Cumbria from Derbyshire and training to be a chartered accountant.
I was born and grew up in Derbyshire and had never even been to Cumbria until I was 20 when I visited Keswick with my family. Six months later I got a job as an outdoor activity instructor near Derwentwater and moved there, originally only planning to stay a year or two – I then met my partner (who is from Cumbria) and never left!
After 4 years of instructing, I decided it was about time to grow up and get a real job. Qualifications wise, at 23 I was the equivalent of a school leaver – I had my GCSE’s and A-Levels but most of my other qualifications were meaningless outside of the outdoor industry.
Why David Allen?
I first came to know about David Allen from the mugs in the staffroom at a climbing wall I worked at! Fast forward a few years to when I was trying to get into accounting and it was the first place I thought of. I sent my CV and cover letter through the “careers” section on the David Allen website. An interview followed shortly after and a few weeks later I was offered a job as an accounts apprentice.
What it’s like to work at David Allen
My typical day can include submitting VAT returns, drafting accounts and sometimes just sorting through a big box of jumbled receipts as well as any other admin jobs that are needed. I also book in documents that clients have dropped off – checking through and recording what the client has given us, requesting additional information if needed and making sure the clients records are kept safe. There is also help and training from other staff whenever it is needed or wanted. Once a week I go to college for the afternoon/evening to work towards my AAT level 3 qualification.
There are plenty of additional activities happening in the work place that staff can get involved in. There is always something happening for the Charity of the Year – there are bake offs, pumpkin carving competitions, mountain climbs and fancy dress contests. There is also the Christmas party, Aspatria rugby match, agricultural summer shows. You can get involved in as much or as little as you want to.
I like that there is always someone who is willing and able to help you if you need it. Many of the staff have done the same apprenticeship scheme I am on so can give advice on my college course as well as my work. There are lots of workplace incentives and perks such as discounts for our services. As an apprentice I am still allowed to actually work on accounts rather than just put files away and make the tea (although of course there is some of this) which is the impression I got from most of the apprenticeships that were on offer to me through the careers department at my school. There are people of all ages here as well so no one is the odd one out for being too old or too young.