Posted: 08 Feb. 2021 5 min. read

Apprenticeships - A bright start to a rewarding career

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Jess Popkin, a senior associate in Deloitte’s South West & Wales private audit practice, talks about her role, learning and experiences as a BrightStart apprentice at Deloitte.

As a senior associate in audit, my role involves testing riskier areas of clients’ financial statements. This year, I am also going to be the field senior on two clients.  This means I will be leading a small team and I’ll be responsible for ensuring that all work is correctly completed whilst also helping more junior colleagues with their work.

I’m currently in my third year of the four-year BrightStart apprenticeship. At the end, I will be ACA qualified with a level 8 apprenticeship qualification. So far, I’ve completed 9 out of 15 exams so I’ve definitely made good progress and I’m looking forward to passing the rest of them. This year, if all goes to plan, I should complete all but one of the remaining exams, which will be brilliant.

Once I pass my ACA exams and qualify, I intend to continue working in audit and would like to one day be a manager – that’s two grades above my current position and the goal I’ve been working towards over the last few years.  It would be amazing if I were to get there.

As Deloitte offers numerous opportunities, I would also like to think at some point in the future I might try a new team or area of the business.  I know this is something I’ll be able to do here, but at the moment I’m enjoying audit and the progress I’m making.

Thinking back over the last two years, I have really got to know the business and been able to learn from different people on a daily basis. There was always someone new to talk to who had advice either on the client project or helpful tips and tricks. I have really enjoyed working with our clients and finding out which sort of businesses I like working with most. 

I also like the fact that I’m able to work on a wide range of clients. I have some very large clients that require large teams and many weeks of audit work, but others that are very small and their work can usually be completed within a week or two. Having both types of clients gives me exposure to a range of tasks and people which I’ve really appreciated over the last few years.

My favourite thing about our training is how our teams and the firm prioritise our learning and help us to achieve our qualifications.  We are given lots of dedicated time to focus on our studies as well as access to tutors and support resources in order to help us pass our exams. The schedule can be challenging at times but I feel that Deloitte makes sure we are given everything we need to reach our potential with our studies. We also study in our year group, i.e. with fellow apprentices that joined the programme at the same time I did, which creates a real sense of community. That way, you’re never alone and this really helps when you might be struggling with some aspects of your studies.

The best thing about working at Deloitte for me is the sense of community and achievement. Deloitte has a brilliant way of bringing life to the saying “it’s the people that make it”. It’s amazing to work with like-minded people who share the same work ethics as me but who are all so unique. Deloitte also makes a big effort to recognise its employees for their dedication and I constantly feel as though I’m a valued member of my team and the wider firm as a whole. Getting to know everyone through work and social get-togethers has definitely been one of my favourite parts. They are always fun to attend, although we’re now meeting virtually due to COVID-19.

The pandemic has obviously had an impact on all of our lives in many different ways, and my apprenticeship is no exception. As well as working from home, I’ve been studying remotely since the beginning of the pandemic which has been a real change. The main difference is not being able to communicate as with the tutors as much as you would do in a classroom setting.  And I also miss the community culture and mixing with my peers. However, the software we use is very user friendly and our tutors have adapted well too in order to help us succeed. On the other hand, lockdown and the inability to have much to do outside the house has given me more time to focus on my studies which has been quite helpful!

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2021 is “Build the Future”.

Deloitte is a supporter of National Apprenticeship Week. By sharing our stories, we would like to encourage other employers to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and at the same time help them build a workforce ready for the future.

NAW2021 #BuildTheFuture

Explore Deloitte’s virtual Spring careers festival, a programme of virtual events that potential applicants can join, as well as parents, teachers and careers advisors.  These range from discovery sessions, where people can chat online with our student recruitment team or current apprentices, skills workshops as well as ‘Meet Deloitte’ sessions.

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 Jess Popkin

Jess Popkin

Assistant Manager

Jess is a Assistant Manager in the South West & Wales Private Audit team based in Cardiff. Her role involves testing and auditing account balances for clients in the private sector. She is one of Deloitte's BrightStart apprentices and is working towards the ACA qualification.