Posted: 03/02/2020

Sarah’s career has skyrocketed with a ForViva apprenticeship opportunity. Now, she shares her success story during National Apprenticeship Week

After completing her apprenticeship, at just 23 Sarah won “most promising accountancy newcomer” at the 2013 Housing Association National Accountancy awards.

Sarah, who grew up in Worsley with her family and attended Walkden High School and Pendleton Six Form College, always had a head for numbers.

Studying for her A-Level in Business Studies was a turning point for Sarah. She realised she had a passion for finding out how business worked and excelled in the accountancy module of her course.

She started with Group member ForHousing in 2009 after she approached the Assistant Director of Finance directly for work experience. This was the summer before she was due to start at Manchester Metropolitan University to study Accountancy and Finance.

Two weeks of work-experience turned into a two-month placement as a Purchase Ledger Officer with the chance to take her Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification.

When at the end of the placement a permanent apprenticeship role came up, Sarah jumped at the chance and decided to give up her place at university.

Sarah’s hard work and determination saw her fast-tracked through her AAT qualification, completing it in two years instead of three.

ForViva’s Excellence Academy, which nurtures the talent of future managers, supported her on her career journey.

Sarah said: “The Academy gave me useful tools to take into each of the roles I’ve had at ForViva. The support I got there gave me the confidence to take on challenges and grab opportunities.”

She then went on to gain her Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualification over three years, which she completed in 2017.

Each time Sarah has gained a qualification, she has taken another step up the ladder. She is now in the role as Finance Manager.

She and her team of eight are responsible for reporting accounts to ForViva and ForHousing boards and is also responsible for Cheshire West and Chester Council Commercial Contracts and service charges.

Now aged 31, Sarah has rapidly progressed her career over the past ten years with the business and is really happy in her current role.

She said: “I love watching my team develop and grow. And I really enjoy the variety of working at ForViva – I get the opportunity to get involved in so many different things. It’s challenging and I thrive on that. Every day is different when you work here!”

“Getting funded to do my qualifications and learning on the job has meant I am further ahead in my career than I would have been if I had gone through the university route. It also means I’m financially better off and without the burden of student loans.

“I would recommend taking up an apprenticeship to anyone interested in getting into finance, there are so many benefits.”

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