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Alex McGowan - Hill Vellacott

News and Features

Alex is now in the second year of her Higher Level Apprenticeship with Belfast Met. Employed by Chartered Accountancy firm Hill Vellacott, Alex benefits from college based training provided by Belfast Met and “on the job training” provided by her employer. Find out what Alex and her employer say about the benefits of undertaking a Higher Level Apprenticeship course via Belfast Met.

Alex McGowan Higher Level Apprentice in Accountancy.
“I decided to go for the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy, as I know I learn quickly if I can apply what I have learnt to a practical situation. Therefore, the apprenticeship model of working and learning at the same time really appealed to me. The fact that the apprenticeship is fully funded by the Department of Economy NI was also was a key factor in my decision as I am able to gain my qualification debt free.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship allows me to earn a wage. I attend college classes one day per week and spend the rest of the working week learning on the job with my employer. In addition to working towards my qualifications, I have gained experience and developed skills in a range of areas and can prepare a set of accounts, complete VAT returns and personal tax returns. I have also been able to assist senior members of staff on client audits.

To date my main highlights have been passing all my 1st year exams on the first attempt and realising how much I have progressed within my role since starting the apprenticeship.

Upon completion of my course, I plan to go on to study with Chartered Accountants Ireland and qualify as a Chartered Accountant. If I successfully complete my exams this year, I can claim exemptions from some of the subjects in the first year of professional exams with Chartered Accountants Ireland, which is another great benefit!

I highly recommend this route if you want to try accountancy and feel that university is not for you. It is hard work but if you have the determination and drive to do well you will get through it and gain your qualifications without the debt that usually follows most courses.”

Eoin McMullan, Hill Vellacott:
“Hill Vellacott have been involved with the Higher-Level Apprenticeship scheme with Belfast Met for five years, and we are very pleased to have worked with many impressive apprentices during that time."

We see the Higher-Level apprenticeship scheme as a valuable route for those wishing to gain experience in practice while completing their studies. Of those who have successfully achieved their qualification to date, some have chosen to further their careers through industry while others have chosen to remain with us to develop their studies further through Chartered Accountants Ireland and are currently working towards their goals of becoming a Qualified Chartered Accountant. “

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