7-13 February 2022 is National Apprenticeship Week. It aims to shine a light on and celebrate apprenticeships, which have a huge, positive impact on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
We spoke to Becky Huntley, Recruitment Associate, about the trainee opportunities offered at Hazlewoods and an insight into the application process.
Why should someone consider an apprenticeship at Hazlewoods and what do we offer?
We are a highly reputable firm with great local, national and international reach. Some of the work we have here client-wise, you would not usually find outside of London, which really appeals to young people wanting to kick start their accountancy career.
Beginning a career straight after school may be quite daunting at first, and some school leavers may not want to immediately move out to the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Hazlewoods provides exceptional prospects, including access to big clients and plenty of progressional opportunities, whilst offering the best of both worlds between country life at our picturesque Staverton office and the buzz of the town at our Cheltenham office.
We offer two levels of apprenticeships – levels three and four combined, which are aimed at school leavers, with level seven aimed at graduates. Whilst we have teams who cover all areas of accountancy and offer general advice, Hazlewoods also specialises in specific fields and sectors, such as tax, corporate finance and audit, farms and estates, veterinary and legal.
There is something to suit everyone and we make sure that the team you become part of compliments your skills and interests throughout the application process.
What does the application process look like?
It is a multi-step process. Firstly, you would submit your CV and cover letter to our careers inbox. Someone from the recruitment team would then schedule an initial chat over the phone or video call to find out a bit more about you, what you are looking for and why you have chosen a career in accountancy . It is also a good opportunity to ask any initial questions you may have.
We would then invite you to complete some aptitude testing, before inviting you for a virtual assessment centre which includes an interview with a member of our HR team and a Hazlewoods Partner.
We would finally invite you for a second interview face to face, with a potential team, to see if it is a good fit and that you have a natural interest for the work that they do.
What support is provided throughout an apprenticeship and training?
We are supported by our external training provider, First Intuition, who are based in Bristol. They have worked with us for a number of years and we have always achieved excellent exam results with them.
They are very approachable and supportive, particularly during the pandemic, and provide great feedback reports throughout the apprenticeships, both to the HR team and Managers.
Internally, we have a dedicated member of our HR team to support the trainees and is their 'go to' person – for things such as booking exams, onboarding and answering any queries the trainees may have at any stage of their apprenticeship. The recruitment team as a whole will always be there to guide and help trainees, from day one of interview, right through to qualifying and beyond!
We also have a structured career pathway, which sets goals for trainees at each stage of their journey and aids with development. Opportunity will always be provided to anyone who wants to work hard and strive for progression – we will always support that!
What social opportunities does Hazlewoods provide?
There can certainly be the social aspect of training together as a group, going on to work and study together, followed by drinks on a Friday night for those who are keen! At Hazlewoods, we currently have over 110 trainees, so there are lots of young people sharing the same experience.
We have two social committees – one for Hazlewoods as a whole who run events such as staff drinks, events, challenges, charity fundraisers, fitness and mindfulness activities, and a second committee solely for trainees.
The trainee committee empathises with the stress of exams and understands the best timings for when a social event might really be needed! This could include things such as bowling or Friday night pizzas and drinks, with the social scene really helping to bring trainees from across our two offices (Staverton and Cheltenham) together.
What advice would you offer to someone considering an apprenticeship?
Be inquisitive and embrace the challenge! Opportunities really do come to those who work hard, ask lots of questions and get stuck in.
I would also say to not judge a book by its cover and assume accounting is just 'Maths'. It is far more than that. If you are currently studying history for example, but have a passion or interest for business, finance or economics, then you could be perfect for the role. You will have so many transferrable skills from other subjects that could work really well.