After completing his AAT accounting qualifications, Simeon Powell’s career post-apprenticeship has gone from strength to strength and from experience to experience.
Simeon completed his apprenticeship with management accountants Maple Accountancy, and is now an ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Service. Simeon sat with us to speak about the opportunities he attained since the start of his apprenticeship, with some advice for those who are just taking their first steps in the world of work.
Hi Simeon, thanks for speaking with us! Why did you decide to start your career on an apprenticeship, and where are you now in your career?
‘I knew straight from school I wanted to get into the world of work as soon as possible and start earning, so an apprenticeship enabled me to earn and learn, which was brilliant for expanding both my experience and knowledge.
I now work at Motorpoint and have been working within the Accounts and Registrations departments, picking up a variety of different roles and tasks which I’ve really enjoyed.’
You are now a Young Ambassador for the National Apprenticeship Service, which means you head out to events quite often – what has that been like?
‘Working with the NAS is such a pleasure, it’s just so different to being behind a desk and shows the bigger picture to what Apprenticeships can offer everyone. As an ambassador, I get invited to both regional and national award shows to celebrate the great achievements of both companies and individuals.
The award shows are a fantastic experience, and I was also asked to speak at the regional Apprenticeship Awards in 2014. The speech celebrated apprenticeships, and I gave different examples of how some opportunities come throughout your career, although we don’t always immediately see them. I also twice judged the winners for the year, of which one year I was the youngest judge.
In 2015 David Cameron led a campaign for apprenticeships, and I was chosen as one of six apprentices to represent the East Midlands on the campaign. That was a brilliant opportunity to network and meet many new people as well.’
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How did you manage to get into the position as a Young Ambassador?
‘In 2013 I went to London on a two-day personal development training course on coaching and speaking. I met a lady there who worked for Hilton Hotels and asked about my background, and I told her I was on an accountancy apprenticeship. She then invited me to do a speaking session with her apprentices in London.
At the session, there was a panel of 6 speakers ranging from senior managers to former apprentices, and we delivered the speeches to over 100 apprentices. A representative from the National Apprenticeship Service also attended the day, who then asked me to attend and speak at more events in the East Midlands. Due to the success of the day, the rest became history and I now enjoy working with many new businesses in the East Midlands, and attend every event I can.’
What kind of role did you have on your apprenticeship, and what skills and knowledge do you feel you gained from it?
‘At the beginning I was trained with small businesses calculating VAT and Income tax for my level 2 AAT qualification, this then led to work at bigger limited companies as I progressed, with tasks such as calculating corporation tax and putting together final accounts.
Even though these were really important for me to develop, the most valuable skills I learnt were the skills that stay with you throughout your career such as communication, prioritising tasks, time management, and working on my own initiative.’
What kind of guidance have you gained from Babington and your current employer Motorpoint as you progressed?
‘Babington offered me great support during my apprenticeship studies, and my tutors offered to stay longer if any of my class or myself needed practice for any upcoming exams. I’ll always be grateful for that.
At Motorpoint I have learned what it takes to be a manager in the future if the opportunity becomes available, and most importantly how to be part of an effective team.’
What advice do you have for other young people who are looking to start their career?
‘Always ask questions when first getting started in the workplace! Stay enthusiastic with a positive attitude and it will take you a long way. And definitely learn how to save as early as possible!’