7th February, 2022, Melanie Harriss
As the nation marks Apprenticeship Week from today to celebrate and spotlight the positive differences apprenticeships can make to an industry, Bethany Little is moving towards the finish line in accounting after five years of supported study with Stephenson Smart.
The 20-year-old was the youngest recruit ever when she joined us in 2018 at just 16 years old, making her one of only a handful of trainees her age in the country.
Now she’s blazing a new trail as she’s on course to become both a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor at the age of 21 – a qualification that will see her leading the way on a national level.
Bethany, who is based at the King’s Lynn office, was a month into her A Levels when work experience with us prompted her to change course and pursue the offer of an apprenticeship scheme.
She completed her AAT in record time with the support of Partner Claire Melton and began studying for the joint ACA/CTA qualification, an alternative route introduced to allow applicants to gain chartered accountancy and chartered tax advisor status at the same time.
Bethany said: “I think I could be the first person of my age to study for this at Stephenson Smart, but I understand I could be one of the youngest in the country.
“I started in September 2020, a month after I completed my AAT and I’ve already taken six exams. I have already received the results for four and was really pleased to get more than 90pc in each exam.
“I have five exams left to take and I should become a chartered accountant just after I turn 21 in June. I hope to achieve chartered tax advisor status by the middle of 2023 and before I’m 22.”
Bethany has studied solidly for five years and has also identified that taxation of owner managed businesses is an area she wishes to specialise in.
“The benefits to learning while on the job is that it enables you to apply what you are learning into something practical.
“I’ve learnt so many skills – time management is very important, working as part of a team and interacting with clients.
“With an apprenticeship there’s less pressure, more support and at the end of it you have a qualification in accountancy, which is equivalent to studying at master’s degree level.
“I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity because I am now in a career I love, I have been encouraged to pursue my ambitions and I have had brilliant support along the way.”
Claire Melton, partner at Stephenson Smart said she was extremely proud of Bethany’s achievements.
“When Bethany asked me if we would consider giving her an apprenticeship it was something we discussed between the partners because we hadn’t taken a trainee on of her age before, but she was so determined with such a natural aptitude we found it very difficult to find even one reservation.
“We were completely right to invest in her - she’s a leading light. Not only did she complete her AAT in such a short space of time, but she’s now on course to become one of just a few staff members to hold the joint ACA/CTA qualification, making her almost certainly one of the youngest across the UK.
“Our apprenticeship scheme is a really important part of our business because it’s all about nurturing talent and giving people of all ages and interests in the career an opportunity to thrive, progress and help us build a strong workforce for our future.”
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