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I knew I enjoyed working with numbers and really liked my Maths teacher Kathryn Neumann, but knew I didn’t want to do a Maths degree and wasn’t sure that university was right for me.

I’m currently an Accounting and Business Advisory Assistant for RSM, who are based in Crawley but who have offices across the UK and all over the world. I do a week’s formal learning every two months in London, then revise for exams about two weeks later, but most of my time is spent learning on-the-job. It’s made me much more confident in my work and given me real accounts to work on for some cool companies. Everyone has been really kind and welcoming, and I’ve felt like part of the team from day one. The college leavers’ apprenticeship route is flexible: You can gain a junior level qualification after about three years, which means you can take on jobs like book-keeping. Alternatively, you can continue for another two years and achieve the highly regarded ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) – equivalent to a Masters degree, which is what I’m aiming for.

Personally, I don’t feel I’ve missed out on uni life as RSM has a lively, young workforce – about 60% of us are under 25 and there are lots of great socials, both at work and after hours. No two days are the same and it’s much less about complex Maths and much more about how you think – so keep an open mind about Accounting, it’s a lot more varied and interesting than you might first think.

Lauren Smith

Reigate College: 2019-2021

Currently: RSM UK (Accountancy apprenticeship)

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