Angela Francis, Author at Reed Business School - Page 2 of 4

What are the benefits of flexible apprenticeships for employers?

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week focuses on the theme ‘Skills For Life’ and takes place from the 5 – 11 February. The aim of the week is to highlight the importance of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses, and communities.

If you’re looking to invest in your team in a cost-effective way that fits around business needs, then apprenticeships are a great place to start. Our apprenticeships:

  • Improve your team’s skills, knowledge and job satisfaction, ensuring key team members stay with you for longer
  • Develop the skills your organisation needs through tailored training
  • Offer dynamic support for your business with apprentices assisting other team members

Reed Business School has partnered with Mindful Education to deliver Online and Live Remote Classroom based apprenticeships for the AAT accounting professional qualifications. These apprenticeships have been designed to make learning as engaging, enjoyable and flexible as possible.

Our professional apprenticeships for AAT are:

  • AAT Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant Apprenticeship
  • AAT Level 3 Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship
  • AAT Level 4 Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship

Apprentices have on-demand access to online lessons which can be accessed at any time, using a mobile, tablet or desktop – meaning they can fit their study around work commitments. Apprentices also benefit from weekly or fortnightly Live Remote Workshops with an experienced tutor to embed their learning.

You can find out more about National Apprenticeships Week here.

If you are interested in discussing our professional apprenticeships (we offer AAT, ACCA and ICAEW) with our team, then please contact us!


New Year, Fresh Start: The Benefits of Dry January and Tips for Success

As the holiday season winds down and the New Year unfolds, many individuals find themselves reflecting on their habits and contemplating positive changes. One growing trend gaining traction is “Dry January” – a month-long commitment to abstain from alcohol. This movement, while initially popularised in the United Kingdom, has now spread globally, with people recognising the potential benefits of taking a break from alcohol.

In this article, we’ll investigate the importance of participating in Dry January, offer a few tips for success, and explore how cultivating healthy habits can contribute to a positive start in the new year.

The Importance of a Break from Alcohol

Physical Health: Alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, can have various impacts on physical health. From improved liver function to better sleep and enhanced immune system responses, giving your body a break from alcohol allows it to recover and start to regain optimal functionality.

Mental Clarity: Alcohol affects cognitive function and can contribute to mood swings and mental fatigue. A break from alcohol can lead to improved focus, mental clarity, and enhanced overall well-being.

Financial Benefits: Taking a break from alcohol not only benefits your health but also your wallet. January is often a time when finances are under scrutiny, and eliminating alcohol expenses can provide a useful economic boost.

Top Tips for a Successful Dry January

Set Clear Goals: Define your reasons for participating in Dry January, whether it’s for health, mental clarity, or financial reasons, or all three. Setting clear goals will help you stay motivated throughout the month.

Inform Your Social Circle: Let friends and family know about your commitment to Dry January. This transparency not only encourages support but also helps create an environment conducive to your goals. By doing so your friends and family may chose not to offer you alcohol and make the prospect of saying no less contentious.

Explore Alcohol-Free Alternatives: The beverage industry has responded to the growing demand for non-alcoholic options. Experiment with alcohol-free beers, mocktails, and other creative concoctions to make the experience enjoyable. There are some great examples of mocktails on the from Inside Tracker which sound absolutely delicious, and you can download them from their website.

Engage in Healthy Habits: Replace the time spent socialising over drinks with activities that contribute to your well-being. Exercise, meditation, and pursuing hobbies are excellent alternatives to fill the void left by alcohol.

Reflect and Plan: Aim to use this month as an opportunity for self-reflection. Assess how your body and mind feel without alcohol and consider your relationship with alcohol moving forward. Use the insights gained to plan for a healthier approach to alcohol consumption in the future.

Embracing a Healthier New Year:

As Dry January comes to an end, participants often find themselves with a renewed sense of energy and accomplishment. By taking a break from alcohol, individuals can kickstart a positive domino effect, setting the tone for a healthier and more mindful year ahead.

Cultivating good habits during the beginning of the year not only supports your short-term goals but also lays the foundation for a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle throughout the entire year. So, whether you’re a seasoned participant or considering it for the first time, Dry January offers a valuable opportunity to reevaluate and recalibrate, ultimately contributing to a healthier and happier you.

The Importance of Budget Awareness and Compassion – How to Navigate the Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, the air is filled with excitement, enjoyment, and the promise of quality time spent with family and friends. However, amidst the festive cheer, it’s crucial to be mindful of the financial implications that come with the celebrations. This month our hot topic explores the importance of budget awareness during the holiday season and how to manage your budget to ensure you’re not strapped for cash in the new Year. We also emphasise the significance of nurturing connections with loved ones, while also extending a hand of compassion to those who may be alone and vulnerable at Christmas.

The Season of Giving – Within Your Means:

It’s easy to get swept up in the magic of the holiday season and overspend on gifts, decorations, and lavish feasts. While the spirit of giving is undoubtedly one of the most valued aspects of Christmas, it’s essential to approach it with a sense of budgetary responsibility. Establishing a realistic budget for gifts, festivities, and other holiday-related expenses can help prevent financial stress in the aftermath of the celebrations.

Creating a budget not only ensures a financially responsible approach to the season but also encourages thoughtful and intentional gift-giving. Consider the value of experiences over material possessions – a heartfelt gesture, a shared activity, or the gift of time can often be more meaningful than extravagant presents.

Family and Friends – The True Treasures of the Season:

Amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, it’s crucial to remember that the true essence of the season lies in the company of family and friends. Spending quality time together, sharing laughter and creating lasting memories, far surpasses the material aspects of the holidays.

This year, make it a priority to engage in activities that strengthen your bonds with loved ones. Whether it’s a favourite family board game, a shared cooking session, or a simple walk through a winter wonderland, these moments contribute to the magic of the season. Embrace the joy of togetherness and create traditions that will be cherished for years to come.

Compassion for the Lonely and Vulnerable:

While many of us are fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones during the holidays, it’s important to recognise and extend compassion to those who may be facing the season alone or feeling vulnerable. Loneliness can be particularly acute during this time, and a small gesture of kindness can make a significant difference.

Consider reaching out to neighbours, friends, or acquaintances who may be spending the holidays on their own. Invite them to join in your celebrations or simply check in with a friendly message or Christmas card. Acts of kindness, no matter how small, have the power to brighten someone’s day and alleviate the sense of isolation that can be heightened during the holiday season.

Staying Safe this Christmas

While you’re out and about shopping and visiting friends this Christmas please be mindful of your own safety and security.

The Counter Terrorism police have shared the following advice and guidance to reassure everyone that their safety and security is paramount.

  • Tell us if you spot anything which doesn’t feel right. We can all play our part in defeating terrorism, by reporting at In an emergency call 999

As we approach Christmas and the New Year, let’s remember the importance of budget awareness, staying safe, mindful gift-giving, and, most importantly, the value of family and friends. Embrace the joy of togetherness, create meaningful traditions, and extend compassion to those who may be feeling alone and vulnerable. In doing so, we not only enhance our own holiday experience but contribute to a season characterised by warmth, generosity, and the true spirit of giving.

More information on how you can support people in your local community who may be struggling with loneliness can be found here:

Loneliness Guide | Marmalade Trust

Christmas and Loneliness in those living with mental illness (

Third of people too embarrassed to admit they are lonely at Christmas – Mind

Movember: Promoting Men’s Health and Wellbeing

As November rolls in, so does an important global initiative known as “Movember.” This month-long event aims to raise awareness of men’s health issues, with a particular focus on physical and mental well-being.

Originally rooted in the idea of growing mustaches to spark conversations and promote awareness, Movember has grown into a powerful movement that encourages men to take charge of their health, discuss their issues openly, and seek necessary medical attention. In this article, we’ll explore the multifaceted approach of Movember, which addresses key aspects of men’s health, including mental health, prostate, and testicular cancer.

Mental Health Matters

Mental health is an essential but often overlooked aspect of men’s overall well-being. Many men face significant challenges when it comes to discussing their feelings and seeking help for mental health issues. Movember strives to combat this stigma by encouraging open conversations, offering support, and emphasising the importance of staying connected with friends and family.

Staying Connected: One of the primary goals of Movember is to encourage men to reach out to their loved ones. Simple conversations can be therapeutic and can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Whether it’s a heartfelt chat with a close friend or a deep discussion with a family member, staying connected can have a profoundly positive impact on mental health.

Talking Through Problems: Movember urges men to share their thoughts and feelings. Talking about problems and issues can help reduce the burden of emotional distress. Opening up about challenges can lead to finding solutions, gaining support, and ultimately improving mental well-being.

Seeking Professional Help: For men facing more serious mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, Movember encourages seeking professional help. Speaking with a mental health expert can provide valuable guidance and strategies for managing and overcoming these challenges.

Physical Health Focus

In addition to addressing mental health, Movember places a strong emphasis on physical health issues that affect men, particularly prostate and testicular cancer. Early detection and awareness are key to increasing survival rates and improving the quality of life for men diagnosed with these conditions.

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Regular check-ups, discussions with healthcare professionals, and understanding the risk factors can lead to early detection and more successful treatment. Movember encourages men to get regular screenings and discuss their prostate health with their doctors.

Testicular Cancer: Although less common than prostate cancer, testicular cancer is primarily diagnosed in younger men. Self-examination and understanding the signs and symptoms are essential for early detection. Movember provides information on how to perform testicular self-exams and raises awareness about the importance of seeking medical advice if any abnormalities are noticed.

Physical Activity and Nutrition: Leading a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing various health conditions, including prostate and testicular cancer. Movember promotes physical activity and proper nutrition as preventive measures. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy body and reduce the likelihood of health problems.

Movember is more than just a month of mustache-growing; it’s a powerful initiative that aims to make a difference in men’s lives by addressing both their physical and mental health. Through open conversations, staying connected with friends and family, discussing problems, and promoting early detection of conditions like prostate and testicular cancer, Movember is making a substantial impact on men’s health and well-being. By participating in or supporting this movement, you can contribute to a healthier, happier, and more open society where men are encouraged to prioritise their health and seek help when needed.

Find out more about Movember at

Sign up for Movember at

 Download guidance on men’s health via this link Men’s health guide | World Cancer Research Fund UK (


October: Speak Up Month and World Mental Health Day 2023

October is not just about Halloween and the slow transition into the chilly embrace of winter. It’s also a time for something more insightful – a time for speaking up and raising awareness about issues that truly matter. In this month, we not only celebrate World Mental Health Day but also dedicate the entire October as “Speak Up Month.” It’s a month when we should all encourage staff to find their voices, to feel confident and safe to express their concerns, and to provide a listening ear and access to support.

Speak Up Month: Fostering a Culture of Open Communication

In the modern workplace, communication is key. It’s not just about emails and meetings; it’s about ensuring that every member of the team feels empowered to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas. This is why “Speak Up Month” is important.

A workplace that encourages open communication fosters trust, collaboration, and innovation. When employees feel confident and safe to speak up, they are more likely to share their insights, flag potential issues, and actively participate in problem-solving. This not only enhances the overall work environment but also contributes to the growth and success of the organisation.

Encouraging staff to speak up is not just about providing an outlet for their concerns; it’s about creating a culture where their voices are valued and heard. It’s about acknowledging that everyone’s perspective matters and that together, we can achieve better outcomes.

Moreover, speaking up is not limited to addressing work-related issues. It also extends to personal well-being, which brings us to an equally important aspect of October – World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day 2023: Prioritising Mental Well-being

World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10th every year, is a global platform to raise awareness of mental health issues and advocate for positive change. In 2023, this day takes on a special significance as we continue to grapple with the mental health challenges brought about by the pandemic and ongoing global events.

Mental health is a topic that deserves attention throughout the year, but this day provides a focal point for a concerted effort to discuss, understand, and support mental well-being. It’s a reminder that mental health is as important as physical health and that we all have a role to play in creating a mentally healthy world.

To commemorate World Mental Health Day 2023, many organisations, including our own, are planning special initiatives. We are planning to hold a special afternoon tea at the Manor on the 10th March 2023. This is not just about sipping tea and enjoying a few treats; it’s about coming together as a community to talk openly about mental health, share experiences, and show support for one another. It’s a simple yet powerful way to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and foster a culture of understanding and empathy.

Why It Matters

October’s dual focus on speaking up and mental health is significant because the two are interconnected. When employees feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns, they are more likely to discuss issues related to their mental well-being as well. In a supportive environment, it becomes easier for individuals to seek help and access the necessary resources to maintain their mental health.

Furthermore, a workplace that prioritises mental health and open communication is more likely to have engaged and satisfied employees. When employees feel that their organisation cares about their mental well-being, they are more likely to be productive and loyal, leading to a more successful and resilient organisation.

October is not just another month on the calendar. It’s a time to encourage staff to speak up, to create a culture of open communication, and to prioritise mental health. By doing so, we not only improve the workplace but also contribute to a healthier, happier, and more connected community.

So, let’s take time out to mark Speak Up Month in October and World Mental Health Day 2023 – because together, we can drive positive change and build a brighter future for everyone.

Find out more about Speak Up Month here and you can download resources on World Mental Health Day here.

At Reed Business School we offer one-to-one support from our Mental Health First Aider Sam Dean and while at The Manor anyone can use our Wellness Room for some time out as needed.

What it’s like studying for your ACCA qualification at Reed Business School

Studying to achieve an accounting qualification can seem daunting at first. You might not feel as prepared as you think you should be or might be unsure of what to expect before coming to Reed to study. However, Reed offers both a supportive and accommodating environment as well as helpful resources for making your study experience as smooth and fulfilling as possible.

Here are a few things you can expect when studying at Reed Business School:


You can study all three levels of the ACCA qualification at Reed; the Applied Knowledge, Applied Skills, and Strategic Professional stages, and you will usually sit each module over a couple of months in blocks of 2 to 3 days at a time (for some modules this includes revision days or weeks as well as studying the core content).

If you study at Reed in person, you’ll be able to receive the workbook, study guide, and exam kit upon arrival or will have been sent them in the post if studying remotely. These are key for learning and revising the course content, and you will be using them in class as you move through each chapter.

Classes start at 9am and the day usually ends between 4.30 and 5pm, with about an hour for lunch starting around 12:30 to 1pm, and with a couple of short breaks in the morning and afternoon. The room you’ll be in will be shown on the main noticeboard.


Courses are designed to get you exam-ready and as mentioned include designated revision days or weeks depending on the module you’re taking, meaning that you can comfortably learn the content as well as recapping areas you may be less confident in, and getting valuable exam question practice. It’s also likely that you will be able to sit a mock exam in class, which is really helpful in giving an indication as to the areas you need to work on when it comes to studying at home.

You can sit the three Applied Knowledge papers; Financial Reporting (FA), Management Accounting (MA) and Business and Technology (BT), and the Applied Skills Paper: Corporate and Business Law (LW), at Reed on the exam dates included on the Reed website (these are usually held at 10am). These are computer-based exams and are multiple choice papers lasting 2 hours (and unlike the other papers these are marked electronically, and you will receive your exam result instantly). To sit any of these exams at Reed you’ll need to submit an exam form that can be found on the Reed website, at least seven working days before the exam date.

There are plenty of resources available in terms of exam practice. Tutors will make resources available on teams including notes they’ve been making on the board throughout the module and may also include assignments to complete which will be composed of questions for each chapter of the study guide. If you find that you’re struggling with a particular part of the course or would like help understanding a specific practice question, then you can talk to or message your tutor on Microsoft Teams who can then help.

There are also external resources available to help with studying for exams. On the inside cover of your Kaplan study guide there will be a code to use on their website which will give you access to various study resources, and you can also purchase practice computer exams on the ACCA website, which can better prepare you in terms of time-management, and get you more familiar with exam-style questions.

Food, Accommodation and Reed Business School itself

If you have quite a long journey to and from Reed, then there’s always the option to stay overnight! Reed provides shared, single, and premium rooms, and the accommodation is close to the business school. If you’re staying overnight, then you can also get breakfast at Reed in the morning from 7:45am and dinner in the evening from 5:30pm. [You can opt into accommodation via the accommodation registration form and can also see the website/email reception for more information].

One thing that people hear a great deal about Reed is how great the food is. There are a wide variety of homecooked meals to look forward to, including options for those with dietary requirements, and menus for the week can be found on the tables in the dining hall. Lunch is provided for everyone studying at Reed during the day.

While you’re at Reed we highly recommend that you make the most of the grounds. Not only are there amazing gardens to walk through but there’s also a field of deer, a flock of sheep and tennis courts. You can collect tennis racquets and balls from the manor, as well as badminton and croquet equipment, if you fancy a game at lunch or after class.

Support Available

Finally, make sure to use all the support available as needed! Ask your tutors for help with the course if you need it and make the most of the other study resources mentioned above. There’s also a friendly team in reception to go to if you have any questions or concerns about studying, accommodation, or anything to do with your wellbeing while at Reed.

If you have any questions or feedback on the teaching or about Reed more generally, or if there’s anything you think could be improved, then feel free to contact the Student Representatives!

By Isobel Rushmere, Junior Accountant at Shaw Gibbs, and one of our ACCA Student Rep’s,

Celebrating British Values: A Pathway to Democracy and Inclusion

This month as we’re planning to commemorate the International Day of Democracy on September 16th, and the United Kingdom gears up for National Inclusion Week from September 25th to October 1st, it is an opportune time to reflect on the five core British values that underpin the nation’s social fabric.

These values – democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance – not only define the essence of the United Kingdom but also serve as a guiding light for fostering democracy and inclusivity around the world.

  1. Democracy: The Voice of the People

Democracy is the cornerstone of modern society, empowering individuals to participate in the decision-making processes that shape their lives. The International Day of Democracy highlights the importance of upholding democratic principles worldwide.

In the UK, democratic values are ingrained in the parliamentary system, allowing citizens to elect representatives who advocate for their interests through a democratic and open voting system. This approach ensures that the power ultimately rests with the people, demonstrating that a well-functioning democracy is not just a political structure, but an integral way of life.

  1. Rule of Law: Ensuring Equality and Justice

A society built on the rule of law is one where everyone, regardless of their background or status, is subject to the same laws and regulations. This principle safeguards individual rights and ensures a fair and just society. In celebrating the Rule of Law, we celebrate the impartiality of the legal system in the UK, where justice is blind and the rights of all are protected. This commitment to the rule of law is an embodiment of the belief that no one is above the law.

  1. Individual Liberty: Empowerment and Expression

Individual liberty is the heart of personal freedom – the right to express oneself, pursue one’s aspirations, and make independent choices. This British value enables citizens to flourish and contribute uniquely to society. As we honour this value during National Inclusion Week, it is vital that we recognise that individual liberty goes hand in hand with ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, has equal access to opportunities that allow them to fully participate in society.

  1. Mutual Respect: Embracing Diversity

Mutual respect forms the bedrock of cohesive societies. It’s the understanding that our differences make us stronger, and that by valuing and respecting each other’s perspectives, we can create a harmonious community.

This British value encourages unity in diversity and provides a blueprint for celebrating the richness of culture, ideas, and experiences within society.

  1. Tolerance: Building Bridges of Understanding

Tolerance is the bridge that connects individuals from various walks of life. By fostering a climate of respect and open-mindedness, we create a space where diverse opinions can coexist peacefully. Tolerance doesn’t mean agreeing with everything, but it does mean treating others with empathy and kindness, even when views differ.

As we observe National Inclusion Week from 25th September to 1st October, let us remember that a tolerant society is one where everyone’s voices are heard and valued.

British Values Across the World

As the world collectively acknowledges the International Day of Democracy and the UK celebrates National Inclusion Week, it’s imperative to recognise the interconnectedness of these events and their alignment with the core British values. Democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance are not just national virtues, but also global aspirations that transcend borders.

In honouring these values, the United Kingdom sets an example for the rest of the world – a reminder that by upholding the principles of democracy, justice, freedom, respect, and inclusivity, we can collectively build societies that thrive on the strength of their diversity.

So, as we mark these important reminders of democracy, let us recommit ourselves to nurturing these values not just within our own communities, but across the entire global community we share.

August is Happiness Month!

Celebrating the Essence of Well-Being and Self-Care

Happiness is not just a fleeting emotion; it is a state of mind and well-being that encompasses all aspects of our lives. In August 2023, we celebrate “Happiness Month” as a time to reflect on the importance of happiness, well-being, and the significance of self-care in our busy, fast-paced world.

The Pursuit of Happiness: A Universal Desire

Throughout history, humanity has been on a quest for happiness. From ancient philosophers to contemporary scientists, the pursuit of happiness has captivated hearts and minds. In today’s hectic world, where stress and anxiety are common companions, dedicating an entire month to happiness is not only valuable but also a necessary reminder of why we should all focus on our own well-being.

Understanding the Importance of Well-Being

Well-being encompasses more than just physical health; it also includes mental, emotional, and social aspects of our lives. Achieving a sense of well-being involves striking a harmonious balance between these different facets. However, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, we often neglect one or more of these dimensions, which can lead to a feeling of imbalance and unhappiness.

The Link between Happiness and Self-Care

Self-care is a fundamental pillar of well-being and happiness. It involves taking intentional actions to nurture ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. Self-care is not selfish; it is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship with oneself and, consequently, with others.

During Happiness Month, we are reminded to prioritise self-care and to view it as a non-negotiable aspect of our daily lives. From simple activities like going for a walk outside, reading a book, working on a hobby, or meditating, to more elaborate endeavours such as taking a day off to rest and recharge, self-care comes in various forms and can be adapted to suit individual preferences.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Positive thinking and gratitude play a significant role in cultivating happiness. While it might seem challenging to maintain a positive outlook amidst life’s challenges, adopting a growth mindset can help. A growth mindset encourages us to view obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning and can help us to shift our perspective from one of a feeling of imbalance to abundance.

Practicing gratitude is another powerful tool for enhancing happiness. Taking time each day to express gratitude for the people, experiences, and things in our lives can foster a sense of contentment and fulfilment.

The Role of Connection and Community

Human beings are social creatures, and a strong sense of community and connection with others is essential for happiness. In the age of technology, meaningful face-to-face interactions can sometimes be overlooked, and we can all become insular and introspective.

During Happiness Month, we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with family, friends, and colleagues and to engage in activities that promote a sense of community and general well-being.

Embracing Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

In a fast-paced world filled with distractions, mindfulness can serve as an anchor, bringing us back to the present moment and allowing us to savour life’s simple joys. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting emotional well-being. Developing a regular practice in this can also help us to develop good habits dedicating time around self-care.

Spreading Happiness and Kindness

One of the most amazing aspects of happiness is that it grows when shared. During Happiness Month, we can actively contribute to others’ well-being through acts of kindness and compassion. Simple gestures, such as offering a helping hand, listening attentively, or expressing appreciation, can make a significant impact on someone’s day and foster a sense of interconnectedness and community.

Taking the Happiness Journey Together

Happiness Month in August 2023 serves as a reminder that happiness is a journey, not a destination. It is a collective effort that involves embracing self-care, nurturing positive mindsets, fostering connections, and spreading kindness.

By coming together as a community, we can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond this month, ultimately shaping a happier and more fulfilling world for ourselves and future generations. So, let’s be mindful of our own journey towards finding contentment and happiness during this summer month, and celebrating the essence of well-being and self-care every day of the year.

Happier Kinder Together | Action for Happiness

How to be happier – NHS (

Well-being & Happiness –

Cultivating Happiness –

How an accountancy apprenticeship can work for you and your employer.?

We caught up with Cameron York, Accounts Assistant/Audit Junior at Warwickshire based firm MCA business Ltd, and his manager James Pickering. Cameron is currently undertaking his AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting at Reed Business School.

When finishing school, Cameron initially considered going to university to study for an architecture degree, but following some further research, he decided that pathway wasn’t for him. After undertaking some informal work experience with his accountant mother, which he enjoyed, he started looking into accountancy apprenticeship opportunities so he could learn and earn at the same time. And that’s when he came across MCA.

Having applied for and secured his apprenticeship position, Cameron began his Level 2 AAT qualification at Warwick College, but switched to Reed Business School for his Level 3.

“I didn’t want to have to wait until the next year to start my Level 3 in Warwick. And as my manager (James) and various other colleagues trained at Reed Business School, it made sense to go there instead. The environment and small class sizes suit me, and you get really good attention from the teachers, who are also very knowledgeable and helpful. I’ll definitely look to continue my studies there.”

Mindful Education

Reed Business School uses a blended learning approach for the majority of courses, with our Mindful Education platform at its heart. It hosts all relevant resources, and allows for interaction between staff and students. Cameron is a big fan so far:

“I like that it’s clear and visual with a lot of diagrams, not just big chunks of words. I’m a visual learner so that works great for me. There are lots of different resources – each week there’s the basics you have to learn, then essential practice, a mini exam about that section, plus optional practice. You can also watch recordings from lectures and bite-size videos to learn and review at your own pace.”

Professional Development

Cameron believes studying alongside his work has really aided his professional development and the type of work he gets to do, and he’s very pleased with his progress so far:

When I first started, I wouldn’t really communicate with clients at all, but now I have my own group, and recently I have been taking part in audit stock takes on the clients’ premises too. Soon I’ll be able to go out on meetings alone with them.” 

Cameron also really likes how what he studies in the classroom aids his understanding of his work:

“My accounts work has improved massively, and the two go hand in hand. The course makes much more sense when you have exposure to it at work and can practice what you learn.”

As an employer, MCA believes in supporting the development of its apprentices based on their individual needs and interests. James says:

“I make sure I catch up with them all regularly, and together we map out individual pathways based on their progress, preferences and strengths. We work alongside Reed Business School’s apprenticeship work coach to ensure they develop relevant business skills and behaviours in addition to their technical knowledge. The more confident they get, the more confidence I have in them to take on more senior work.”

Why apprentices?

Compared with a university education, after three years of an apprenticeship you’ll not only have that bank of solid work experience behind you, but also be well on your way to becoming a qualified accountant.

MCA made the decision a few years ago to exclusively hire its trainees via apprenticeships, as the calibre of candidates was comparable to graduates, while their starting salaries were lower – making sounder business sense to them. James says:

“Our approach aims to help the firm grow with new talent, as we can train apprentices in the way we like to do things. Within accountancy work, there are different levels of difficulty, so apprentices can do lower level jobs, and as they progress they can take on more complex tasks.”

Could an apprenticeship be for you?

James tells us what he and (and MCA) look for in the new apprentice accountants they recruit:

“Firstly, they have to have a bit of personality and be easy to talk to. A big part of accountancy is the client interaction, so one of the main things I look for is whether I’d trust that person to represent us well with our clients.

“We also look for people who know a bit about accountancy, what they want to do and why they want to do it. It’s quite a demanding journey so you need to be coming into it with your eyes open about what to expect from your training.”

Key advice

Apprentices are still a relatively new way into accountancy, and James notes that it’s absolutely time to be taking them seriously, while warning that they are hard work:

“When you start your apprenticeship, you might have to do some boring tasks and not understand much of what’s going on. But you need to look at the end goal, keep working through everything as guided, and you’ll end up with a very good career. Trust the process, put in the work, and who knows what you can achieve.”

Cameron agrees, admitting that at the start of his apprenticeship he felt a little out of place:

“It was like I jumped in at the deep end before I really knew how to swim. But you get a lot of support, and if you keep studying and put in the work everything will fall into place. Now I’m really enjoying it.”

and finally a word from our AAT Programme Manager

“MCA are very supportive of their apprentices at levels, and this blended programme suits their needs well. Providing them with the flexibility of learning around their day-to-day work activities. The apprenticeship supports the development of not only their accounting knowledge but also wider skills required by apprentices.” Collette Steadman, AAT Programme Manager at RBS

Would you like to find out more?

Contact us now to start your AAT qualification.

Alcohol Awareness Week 3-9 July 2023: Raising the Bar on Alcohol and Cost

the United Kingdom will embark on a week-long journey of introspection and action, as part of Alcohol Awareness Week. Coordinated by Alcohol Change UK, this annual event aims to shed light on the repercussions of alcohol consumption while advocating for change. This year, the theme of Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘Alcohol and cost,’ urging individuals and society overall to consider the financial toll of excessive drinking.

The impact of alcohol-related harm is far-reaching, affecting millions of people each year. It manifests in various forms, including health issues, financial burdens, strained relationships, and family conflicts. Moreover, the social costs associated with alcohol misuse put tremendous pressure on vital public services such as the National Health Service (NHS), emergency services, police, and workplaces.

According to estimates, the total social cost of alcohol to society amounts to a staggering £21 billion annually. This figure highlights the immense strain imposed on public resources and underscores the urgent need for addressing this pervasive issue. On an individual level, people spend tens of thousands of pounds on average throughout their lifetimes to sustain their alcohol consumption habits.

Tragically, alcohol-related deaths have reached record levels since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, painting a grim picture of the escalating crisis. Mental and physical health have also been adversely affected for countless individuals, as harmful drinking continues to take its toll on society. The pandemic-induced cost of living crisis has further exacerbated the problem, leading some individuals to resort to excessive drinking as a coping mechanism.

However, the exorbitant costs associated with alcohol, both at the personal level and on a broader social scale, can be curbed. Alcohol Awareness Week serves as a rallying point for individuals, families, communities, and public services to come together and confront this pressing issue. By raising awareness, engaging in dialogue, and promoting responsible drinking habits, lasting change can be achieved.

Throughout the week, over 5,000 public health teams, workplaces, GP surgeries, pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and community groups will participate in Alcohol Awareness Week, utilizing the resources provided by Alcohol Change UK. These collective efforts aim to educate the public about the true cost of alcohol and empower individuals to make informed choices.

Alcohol Awareness Week 2023 provides an opportunity for reflection, as we think about the impact of alcohol on our lives and the lives of those around us. It prompts us to consider the financial, physical, and emotional costs of excessive drinking, and encourages us to seek healthier alternatives.

As individuals, we can contribute to reducing the burden of alcohol-related harm by adopting responsible drinking habits, supporting loved ones in need, and seeking help when necessary. By addressing the root causes of excessive alcohol consumption, we can alleviate the strain on our healthcare system, emergency services, and workplaces, allowing them to focus on other pressing issues.

During this pivotal week, lets engage in conversations, challenge societal norms, and advocate for change. By collectively striving for a society that is aware, informed, and empowered, we can redefine the relationship between alcohol and our lives, leading to a brighter, healthier future for all.


Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Facts