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Case Study

Catherine Counts the Advantages of Doing a Higher Level Apprenticeship

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Catherine Devine, 18, from Belfast is doing the Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) in Accountancy at Belfast Met. Catherine completed her A Levels and was planning to do a degree in Finance and Accountancy at Queen’s or Ulster University and had received offers to do so. She had heard of the (HLA) from her school careers advisor and applied as a ‘back up’ to her degree choices. The HLA provides an alternative entrance route to starting your career in the accountancy and finance profession.  It is also equivalent to a foundation degree programme and is recognised by leading accountancy bodies.

She knew the HLA offered many advantages over a degree such as no fees, earn while you earn, only takes two years to complete and gain industry experience and full-time employment with some of Northern Ireland’s largest accountancy firms. Catherine was a little hesitant because it did not follow the ‘traditional education route’ but after weighing up the advantages and talking to family and friends she decided that it would be the best option for her.

Catherine said “I am so delighted with the course. I work four days per week with BDO and attend College one day. Being in full-time employment really enables me to learn at a faster pace. I can put into practice my learning in the classroom and I get involved in many different areas that enhance my learning and overall understanding. The tutors on the course are excellent and really knowledgeable and give lots of help and guidance. It can be difficult sometimes balancing work commitments and studying but I am really enjoying it and I know it will benefit me in my career”.

Upon completion of the course Catherine will be an accounting technician but she has no plans to stop there. The course enables her to continue her studies towards Chartered Status at Level 7 with Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI). Catherine also said “BDO have offices around the world so after I complete my qualification I would love to travel and continue my employment in another country”.

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