Posted: 18 Feb. 2021 5 min. read

Apprenticeships – A dealmaker for a career in financial advisory

Kristy Alex Barker, an associate in the South & Wales M&A team, explains why she chose Deloitte’s BrightStart apprenticeship programme to start her career in financial advisory.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to university and my dad mentioned financial consultancy as a possible career path for me. This prompted me to ask questions and start researching potential career opportunities and financial advisory roles.

The Big 4 professional services firms dominated my research and that’s when I found out about higher apprenticeship programmes like Deloitte’s BrightStart scheme. I was really surprised to learn opportunities like these existed, where I could study and get paid a competitive wage whilst gaining on the job experience at the same time and asked myself, why I hadn’t heard about them before?

Coincidentally at around the same time as I was doing my research, my economics tutor also talked to our A-level class about such apprenticeships and mentioned the Big 4 firms. This led to me attending workshops run by Deloitte and PwC, where they promoted all the different career opportunities on offer such as summer internships etc. This is when I really started to take an interest and think seriously about applying for the BrightStart scheme at Deloitte.

Many people still aren’t aware that apprenticeships can be an alternative to university and I think there’s a lack of knowledge that such great schemes exist.

At the beginning I knew little about Deloitte other than the services they provided, but quickly learnt that they were a global firm with offices all over the world, which was also a real attraction for me. Compared to other schemes I looked into, Deloitte’s programme stood out to me as being the clearest in describing what your day to day role would look like and what it entailed. I remember reading some job descriptions posted by other firms and thinking to myself, I have no clue what any of this means or what I’d be doing if I started this job.

The opportunities at Deloitte were presented as something so new and fresh, compared to the stereotypical route of attending university. I was really interested in how original and exciting these opportunities were, and couldn’t think of any reasons why I wouldn’t go for it! So I applied for the BrightStart apprenticeship in financial advisory and started the multi-stage recruitment process.

At the end when I received the phone call confirming I’d got the position at Deloitte, I was out shopping in Manchester. I recognised the number when I received the call and I knew I would either be crying with happiness or disappointment by the end of the call! I was very excited to learn I’d got the job and thankful that I’d be joining Deloitte, but a part of me was also stunned because I knew I would be moving hundreds of miles away from home: the apprenticeship role I’d applied for in financial advisory was located in Bristol.

I was 18 at the time and had only ever lived with my parents, so it was a big deal starting my career and moving to a new area of the country. Fortunately, Bristol wasn’t a complete unknown, which is I why I chose it, as I’d visited the city a lot as my brother had lived there for several years.

I started my BrightStart apprenticeship in financial advisory in September 2019, specifically joining the M&A team in Bristol as an assistant associate. I’m now an associate and in my second year of the four-year apprenticeship programme and will have qualified as a Chartered Accountant with ICAEW by the end.

One of the best parts about my role in M&A – or mergers and acquisitions if you’re not familiar with the term -  is that no deal or day is the same. I get to work with lots of different people within and outside our team, as well as building relationships with new or existing clients. Whether you’re a junior or senior member of the team, everyone can learn something new on each transaction and this is really beneficial to your career development. Most importantly, everyone in our team has such a positive attitude and is willing to support and help out wherever they’re needed, which has made joining the team as a BrightStart apprentice a great experience.

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 #AskAnApprentice

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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