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My apprenticeship: Liam Hickey @ Smith & Williamson

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liam Hickey, 19, is an Audit Apprentice working in Assurance & Business Services for Smith & Williamson.

What did you do before your apprenticeship (eg GCSEs and A-levels)

I took GCSEs and then A levels in Economics, Accounting and Maths, with an AS level in Business Studies.

Why did you choose your programme over university?

The opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ really appealed as well as being able to have the same qualification (ACA) without incurring any debt.

Why did you choose accountancy, and Smith & Williamson as a firm?

I chose accountancy as it is a very broad field and you can gain opportunities to work in several different business areas as well as in practice. It also offers you the opportunity to set up your own practice if you so wish. I chose Smith & Williamson due to the breadth of clients that I would get exposure to. You have the chance to work with larger and smaller clients and so you definitely learn a lot.

What is your average day like?

My average day will generally involve me being on a client site so I will be talking to and meeting a lot of people.

Describe the study side of your apprenticeship, and how do you balance it with work?

I am lucky in the way that Smith & Williamson clearly set aside time for study leave. This, accompanied by the fact that you will not be contacted by work whilst studying means that it is fairly easy to balance.

What’s your favourite aspect to your programme?

My favourite aspect is the amount of people from a range of different backgrounds that I get to meet whilst at work- no two weeks are ever the same. I also like the support that I get from the firms whilst studying.

What would you say to a young person about to leave school and considering a programme like yours?

Take the time to find the programme and role that suits you. Always consider whether an apprenticeship will benefit you more in the long run compared to university- if you can get the same qualification without the debt and more experience then surely that is worthwhile.

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