7 March 2018
At WYG, our apprentices benefit from a dedicated apprenticeship programme, allowing them to work on live projects from day one and gain on the job training and skills. A nominated mentor is also available to support their personal and professional development.
In today’s National Apprenticeship Week profile, we interview Donata Kociunaite, who is nearing the completion of her two-year apprenticeship in our Leeds office.
What does your job involve?
I am a Finance Apprentice, so I mainly do purchase ledger work. While there are some routine tasks, like registering invoices, reconciling customer accounts and answering payment queries, every day is so different, which means I don’t get bored.
What qualifications will you have at the end of your training?
Once I’m done, I’ll have my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification. I’ll also be able to pursue my CIMA or ACCA qualification, depending on which I feel will benefit me more once I know what route I want to go down in finance.
Why did you choose an apprenticeship?
I didn’t enjoy college. I studied law, psychology, and double award business, but none of that stuck with me. I got introduced to finance when I took a business course, it felt like everything I was doing was just ticking off a list of things that would be expected of me in university. It was a huge amount of pressure without a lot of gain. I wanted to get hands-on experience in an actual workplace. I think it paid off because it feels like everything I’m doing now is benefitting my learning.
What has surprised you the most so far?
I was really surprised by the flexibility. I came to do a business administration apprenticeship, which is completely different from accounting. But I didn’t feel like I was doing enough; I wanted to try something different and WYG just said, ‘ok.’ So now I’m doing something more related to purchase ledger. It made me feel like I have a real voice here.
It’s weird how easy of a route it was for me to pursue. All I had to do was ask. I’m honestly surprised that more people aren’t pursuing apprenticeships, but then again, it’s not something you’re told about often when you’re in school.
What makes WYG a great place to work?
I love working with the people here, as well as the warm atmosphere and the encouragement. My team didn’t just have me doing the bare minimum. Even if you don’t permanently work for a department, if you’re an apprentice, you can just ask a manager, ‘can I just try a week over here?’ and they won’t deny you the experience you need.
Just working here feels more permanent than when I was in school. Obviously, I’m still studying, but it feels much more tangible now with the real-world experience. I feel better knowing I’ve taken an important step toward getting my life together.
What would you tell other graduates considering apprenticeship?
Why not go for an apprenticeship, especially if you don’t know what you want to do? I’ve got a lot of friends in university who hate it and get saddled with student debt without knowing what they want to do. Why not try an apprenticeship for a year and then see where that takes you? If you don’t like it, you can always do something else.
If you do start an apprenticeship, take your time. It’s not going to work out if you rush into anything. If it takes you a bit longer, it’s ok. And don’t be scared to ask for help. That was one big hurdle for me to overcome initially.