Bethany: straight from school
Bethany joined Grant Thornton 3 years ago, on our apprentice programme. We spoke to Bethany to find out more about her experiences here, and how she has been encouraged to progress, both personally and professionally, over the last 3 years.
I entered the world of work straight from school, because as a practical person it was more appealing to me than learning theory in a university lecture hall. I discovered Grant Thornton at a careers fair, and it immediately struck me that the team loved what they did; this is a people business that truly cares about its staff as individuals. That first impression was accurate, as I’ve learned over the past three years that they really want you to develop and go places.
The area of audit that I work on is for the public sector, so I’m looking after the NHS, local government, police, and parks. It really feels like I’m making a difference and what I’m doing is tangible. You can see what money is coming in and where it’s being spent. With the pandemic, for example, I could see the real impact on payroll and expenditure, the grants being given to the businesses and how they’re helping. It’s my way of making a difference without being on the actual frontline.
I also love that working in audit means no two days are the same. I know it’s a cliche, but there’s a variety of tasks to do at any given time.
A people-centric environment
A large company like Grant Thornton can provide opportunities that smaller firms can’t. An example of this is the option for a secondment, once you’re qualified. As I’m Australia-crazy, my aim is to take a secondment there, and the international aspect really opened my eyes to what I’m able to do.
Of course, these opportunities are only available because the company wants its staff to develop. I’ve had two managers so far, and my current one lives around the corner from me. We meet outside of work and know each other on a personal level, which helps us understand each other as more than just a face at the office. Both of my managers have felt more like coaches, in that a coach is always there to ask questions of and provide support. If there’s ever something I want to do for the first time, my manager offers guidance but also gives free rein.
An example of this is that I’ve been able to deliver training, on our data analytics software. I’ve been leading on the rollout of the software in the public sector, and as part of that I ran training sessions to the entire company, including directors. With hundreds of people on the calls and plenty of questions asked of me, I was nervous to start but chuffed afterwards.
Joining a company as a school leaver to running company-wide training within three years, and being included in other important projects, isn’t a typical trajectory in the workplace. It shows how Grant Thornton provides opportunities for junior members to contribute, and the supportive managers and policies make career progression very possible for staff who want to grow.
Supported to develop
When I compare myself now to who I was three years ago, it’s clear that I’ve grown up a lot. You don’t realise how much you learn in a short space of time, or how much you grow as a person. It’s not just your knowledge, but practical skills that only develop by doing it - such as communicating effectively with people, and developing written skills. This is helped by being around more senior people who give me space to develop. When I make a mistake I’m allowed to fix it, and that’s how you grow.
A quote I always go by is “Do more of what makes you sparkle.” If there’s something I’d like to do to develop my skills, I ask for the opportunity. At Grant Thornton, if you ask, you quite often get.