Inside the UK’s biggest Apprenticeships – BT

Inside the UK’s biggest Apprenticeships – BT

BT Tower - London
BT Tower – London

Do you want to know what Apprenticeships are REALLY like?

Do you just have some burning questions for someone who has already been through the process of getting an Apprenticeship?

Well in my next few posts I aim to run a series in which I gain an insight into the UK’s biggest Apprenticeship schemes.

Over the series I will speak to Apprentices from some of the county’s biggest companies and employers.
Businesses such as Microsoft, BT (British Telecom), Unilever, Zurich Insurance, Hargreaves Lansdown, Crest Nicholson.

All of these insights fall under many different industries, from Accountancy to Digital Marketing to IT support.

In this post I am interviewing a Finance Apprentice called Abbie.
She is currently working for BT in Bristol.

1. Who do you work for and how long have you been there?

I work at BT (British Telecoms). I started on the 12th September 2016, so getting on for a year now.

BT Sport Studios
BT Sport Studios

2. What do BT do?

BT are a leading communications service company.

I am based in the Bristol, UK but they have offices all over the world!!

You are probably already aware of some of BT’s products from all of the recent celebrity endorsed ads. If you’re not, then its worth noting that some of BT’s biggest products are: BT TV, BT Sport, BT mobile and BT Broadband to name but a few.

3. What is your job title?

Revenue and VAT- Higher Finance Apprentice (Higher because I am studying Level 4 and beyond).

For more information on Abbie’s course – view the official BT page here >

4. How did you find the apprenticeship?

Like most apprentices, unfortunately I received very little support from my school. And so I found all of the schemes I applied for online in my own time. I’m pretty sure I Googled something like ‘Best apprentice Schemes in the UK” and BT came up! I applied directly through their website.

The application process was pretty intense, from online assessments to full on assessment days!

5. What is your qualification?

I am currently half way through the Certificate Level of Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and I have already completed my Level 4 coursework in Accounting and Tax.

6. What are the main aspects of your role? E.g. what do you do day-to-day?

My role is mainly focused on the VAT side of the team. I create my own workings for the VAT return, complete the VAT returns and also complete hundreds of reconciliations. I also complete some revenue based tasks.

7. What skills do you have now that you wish you had when you joined?

EXCEL!!! Unless you do ICT this is something that school teaches only to a very very basic level! If you want to go into Finance, try to find some online Excel training before you start!

8. What’s the ‘coolest’ thing you’ve done whilst on your apprenticeship?

Most big companies will give some great perks and opportunities to apprentices over normal employees. In the first couple of months I went on many all-expenses paid trips to London. I got to go up the BT tower, have a tour of the BT Sports studios by a Senior Director and I also got to meet the CFO.

Although, the coolest thing I have personally done was cutting my hair off for charity to make a wig. This is something I wanted to do before I started at BT. But working at BT meant that I got to raise greater awareness for 2 great causes (CLIC sergeant and Little Princess Trust) and also raise over £1,000!!

Cutting my hair for CLIC sergeant and Little Princess Trust
Cutting my hair for CLIC sergeant and Little Princess Trust!

 

9. Do you think schools do enough to promote apprenticeships?

No, not at all (at least mine didn’t)

10. What advice would you give someone who was looking for an apprenticeship?

Don’t wait for anyone else to tell you what you should do, if it really interest you, then get out there and get looking! They are becoming increasingly popular, if you’re not quick then you will miss out!!

11. Do you think your apprenticeship will help you more than uni would have?

Yes. I have money in the bank, work experience and I am becoming increasingly qualified (equivalent masters by the end of the scheme). With Uni you are 1 in over 1000 trying to find a job with absolutely 0 experience and only textbook knowledge and debt!

You are never too old to go Uni. I could go at the end of my scheme and top up to a full masters if I wanted. But that doesn’t really interest me personally.

12. What characteristics do you think an ideal applicant to your role would have?

Communication is key!! You need to be able to talk to the people around you (teamwork) and also people all over the world in all different lines of business!

13. Any final words?

Prepare well for the assessment centre. Ask for mock interviews from anyone senior you know, update you CV and go in feeling as confident as you can – Abbie 🙂

More info on all of BT’s Apprenticeship schemes >

So there was my first interview with a real on-the-job Apprentice. I hope you found this interesting and learnt something from Abbie’s advice!

Let me know in the comments if there are any other questions you would like to ask Abbie and I can include them in a later post!

Jeremy

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