The Apprentices

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

New Role

I am now an incredible 16 and a half months into the apprenticeship and there have been a few changes/events recently. First of all, I am now working in Operations in the Contracts team. This is a 3 month spell of February-April and I am really enjoying it so far. As the newcomer, many of my tasks are administrative as you might expect, but it’s very interesting experiencing just how much the front office benefits from an efficient back office and seeing this first-hand rather than just hearing about it. I was a tiny bit nervous about moving to a new team at first, but like everyone I’ve met at Rathbones they are all incredibly friendly and this has made the transition very easy. As we approach the Tax Year end the workload is expected to increase so it is good timing for my move, as hopefully I can lend a helping hand. Secondly, the apprentices recently visited the London office to speak to some of the staff there and learn a bit more about the similarities and differences between how different offices operate. It was a really interesting trip and my only complaint is that there just wasn’t enough time to see everything there! Again, our colleagues were all very friendly and had as many questions about the apprenticeship as we did about the London office. After listening to various heads of departments tell us about their teams’ roles in the business, we spent a very informative 30 minutes with a fund manager before meeting the Rathbone Investment Management Committee around noon. The afternoon was spent on a finance-related walking tour of the City with a fantastic tour guide, and despite the intermittent snow this was another great experience. I am looking forward to my last 6 months here at Rathbones as an apprentice and for whatever the future may bring.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

It’s now the middle of August and I’m almost half-way through my Rathbones apprenticeship. Since early July I’ve been working in the Personal Tax team that completes Tax Returns for both internal and external clients wanting Rathbones to assist with their tax affairs. As we get closer and closer to the Return submission deadline in January it is certainly getting busier. If I didn’t already feel like part of the company then this team would make sure I did so, giving me a lot of responsibility with completing client Returns. Whilst these are all reviewed before they are sent out, there is a bit of pressure to complete the Returns accurately to reduce the time spent by more senior employees in correcting my mistakes! Though the work can be difficult sometimes I am grateful for the trust that has been put in me to carry out such advanced tasks. When I first started this apprenticeship I had envisioned myself making tea, filing documents and filling envelopes for 24 months. Whilst I still have to do this on occasion, (and I can now make a mean cup of tea!) there are a lot of things I’ve been given the opportunity to do that I could never have imagined completing at this age. Just over a year ago I was spending most of my days with my head buried in a textbook, waiting to start my A-Level exams. Now I sit at my own desk at a top wealth management firm, helping to ensure that clients comply with tax legislation. It’s safe to say that this first year has been full of change, but it’s been one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Bring on January!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

I’m in my second of three teams now, the ‘Family Office’, and I feel just as comfortable here as in my last team. I am definitely noticing the differences between the teams, as my work here has shifted from solely accountancy work to a mix of accounts and taxation. I hear that in my next team I will be doing mainly tax work, so I really am getting a good impression of the different roles here in our department. I no longer compare coming into work to school life, as employment seems normal to me now! Attending college and starting my revision for my tax exams (ATT) has been helpful in the adjustment as well, as this has been a ‘bridge’ between school and working life. I think the increased complexity of the tasks given to me shows the responsibility that I have been given, and I know some of the apprentices feel the same. All in all everything is going well right now, and there is little else to say besides the fact that I am enjoying working in my current team, and excited to see what the next team brings.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

January Update

At the time of writing I'm 3 months, three weeks into the apprenticeship at Rathbones. In a week’s time I move teams and start over, so now is probably a good time to reflect on what's happened so far. I work in the Trust & Tax department along with around 20 other people, all of whom I can honestly say have made me feel very welcome here. My first couple of weeks were filled with training, meeting a LOT of new people, and some very tasty free lunches! If having to make a good first impression many times over wasn't scary enough I was taken into a client meeting on my first day by a director! Quite terrifying to be honest, but I was very grateful of the opportunity because it allowed me to learn a lot in a short space of time. Between then and now I have been taught how to take any client's accounts, new or old, and book-keep from scratch so that their accounts are ready to be sent to them at year-end (which is rapidly approaching!). Between February and September I will spend four months in each of the High Net Worth Client and Tax teams which I am looking forward to. The hardest part of working life so far (besides waking up so early!) has been the recurring thought of 'Did I make the right choice in rejecting university to come here?’. Hearing all my friends talk about student life - the miniscule number of hours they have to work each week, the fact that they've escaped so far from home and of course the social side – has made me question whether my decision was the correct one. But seeing them all over Christmas, hearing their tales of debt and observing their excitement at hearing about my job has confirmed the opinion I had, that an apprenticeship really is the way forward in developing careers. That's not to say that university is a bad choice or a waste of time. Having a degree on the CV is something that I will forever be envious of, and it can certainly increase prospects of getting a job. Yet more and more instances have come to my attention where individuals have attained a degree and then gone into employment in an industry completely irrelevant to their course. For those reasons I'm very happy to be at Rathbones and so far I only have positive things to say to anyone considering being, or hiring, an apprentice.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Between 2010 and 2012 the number of apprenticeship starters doubled, bringing last year's figure to a record high of over 500,000...

In the same two years the number of people applying for university has fallen, leaving a lot of room for thought about the career choices that people around my age have made, are making, and are going to make in the near future. My name is Lewis Manning and I'm one of this year's apprenticeship starters.

Only a few months ago I was undertaking my A-Level exams in English literature, geography and biology, with my heart set on a Geography degree at the University of Sheffield. I was one of those over-enthusiastic students that was in love with the subject, and I couldn't picture myself anywhere else besides the beautiful Sheffield campus with a Plate Tectonics textbook in my hand. People had, for many years, been asking me what it was I wanted to do with my degree - where I saw myself afterwards. "Research." was what I told them (although I was never quite sure if there were even any 'research' jobs). Yet as the summer began to end, and the day for moving loomed ever closer, I started to worry about just what I was going to say when an interviewer inevitably asked me: "Why Geography?". It was here that I really struggled to convince myself that I was making the right choice. If I couldn't have a geographical career then what were my chances of getting a regular job with such an unrelated degree?
In all honesty I was quite scared. I had never really thought more than three years ahead. When I finally did think about my options (with just a month or two left before university) I realised that I needed to do something that would get me a job. Better still, I considered the prospect of starting work immediately.

In the back of my mind I had always had a backup plan to go into the financial sector should my geography dreams never come to pass. Realistically, at eighteen years old I didn't think I offered much competition to those with job and life experience, and so I set my sights on a cashier job at a local bank. This is probably the point where I realised just how bad things were in relation to the economy and the resulting job prospects - there were no cashier jobs. Following advice from a few family members I then turned my attention to an apprenticeship. Hours upon hours I spent trawling though the '' website with little luck. When I eventually came across the job at Rathbones I almost went right past it. To tell the truth I had never even heard of the organisation, and so the advertisement didn't stand out. By this point I had realised that the majority of the apprenticeships on offer were for administration roles, which had never really been of interest to me. I'm sure you can imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that there were six positions available for apprentices at a FTSE 250 company. As I read on I started to imagine myself going to work for an organisation listed on the London Stock Exchange, earning responsibility (and of course a wage!). It wasn't too long before I was filling in the application form and my career path was forever changed.