More than an apprenticeship programme
My name is Zane Salmon and I am an Audit Assistant on a 15-month placement in the Liverpool office.
My journey began when I left school in 2016 with 3 A’s at A-Level with aspirations to study Biomedical Sciences at University of Liverpool. I found out quite early on that the mainstream education pathway wasn’t for me and left university to re-think my career path.
After a few years, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in Accountancy. I applied for several finance roles in numerous businesses but always fell short in the last stages as I had a ‘lack of experience’ in the field.
I became aware of the ‘More Than an Apprenticeship’ program ran by national social mobility charity LTSB (Leadership Through Sport and Business). I was fortunate to secure a place on their program which acted as a catalyst by kickstarting my career. I attended several workshops with top employers, contributed in my community with the Liverpool Football Club Foundation and gained enough confidence to start publicly speaking in front of complete strangers!
The most important lesson I learnt whilst on the pre-apprenticeship phase was to embrace all opportunities whether that meant being outside of your comfort zone. The experiences I’ve had had a positive affect on my personal and professional development. My most notable achievement during this time was delivering a presentation to over 200 business leaders in the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament.
After 6 months on the course I was fortunate enough to gain several jobs offers from a variety of firms. Grant Thornton was my preferred choice, the firm offered great career and professional development, the office appeared to have a friendly and encouraging work environment. Following the assessment day which included my most grueling interview to date (thanks Greg Wilson!) I am now a part of the audit department on a 15-month placement at Grant Thornton. It is no exaggeration when I say the past 9 months have flown by and I have enjoyed every second of it so far! Although I am working I still attend monthly support meetings with LTSB where I can discuss my progression and help out with charity events, promoting LTSB and Grant Thornton together. Within the past month I have been asked to return to my secondary school and deliver a presentation to parents and students about alternative opportunities to university raising awareness to both LTSB and the Grant Thornton School Leaver program. I am proud to do this and happy to encourage future school leavers. If I had known about the School Leaver Program whilst in school, then I would not have hesitated and seized the opportunity immediately.
I have recently won the PQ Magazine ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award for my work with LTSB. I am honoured to receive this award, especially as it was the experience LTSB gave me which led me to Grant Thornton.
Once I have completed my placement contract, I hope to gain a permanent position at Grant Thornton and further my career by studying for the ACA qualification.
Although my journey has been far from straight-forward I am fortunate to have been given this opportunity and I can honestly say that I enjoy going to work.
By Zane Salmon