My apprenticeship journey

My career began when I graduated from the Lycée Alexis Montel in France in 2013. My first job was in an administration support role in Europe’s most prestigious cardio-thoracic hospital.

On relocating to Haverhill I joined R&D Tax Credit specialists Fiscale in August 2014. I was recruited as an apprentice Claims Administrator to undertake an NVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration. I decided to apply for an apprenticeship because I wanted to further my education whilst getting some hands on experience.

Fiscale’s apprenticeship programme

When I started work at Fiscale I was the youngest member of the team and the first employee at Fiscale. I joined the founders of the company, John Mayhew and Stephen Bunting. It was an interesting experience being a young female working with two more mature gentlemen! However, Stephen and John were very friendly and helpful and treated me as a young professional.

On paper it could have been quite daunting but the reality was very different and the opportunities were immediately apparent. There was a huge amount I could learn from these two “seasoned” businessmen. There was also the benefit of joining a company that had a highly aspirational growth strategy – a strategy that soon became a reality.

My initial role included supporting meetings, drafting reports and liaising with clients. I really enjoyed the opportunity I was given to learn new skills and progress in my career. I found working in a client-facing role a new challenge. I was given the chance to meet numerous business owners and to increase my knowledge of business and the factors that contribute to a company’s success.

Now we have a team of 14 and the average age in the office has reduced considerably. I am no longer the only female and am definitely not the youngest! Being part of a growing company means that the team becomes very close and supportive. As well as working with Stephen and John, I have been given the opportunity to work with our R & D Senior Tax Manager, Kate Greenhough. Kate has been an invaluable individual in my development and has shown me that women are able to succeed in a business environment.

As the company has grown so has my job role and level of responsibility. At the beginning of 2016 I was promoted to Claims Manager. By this time I had successfully completed the Level 3 in Business and Administration and was surprised and delighted to be chosen as the Haverhill Apprentice of the Year 2015. I am now continuing my education with an NVQ Level 4 Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) qualification.

Over the past 18 months I have trained and mentored new apprentice Claims Administrators, helping them with their career development. I really enjoy this aspect of my job and have even been able to attend several leadership courses. This opportunity has allowed me to see the new apprentices growing as I did. This illustrates the supportive and nurturing environment that exists within the company and is one of the reasons that the company gained the Investors in People Silver Award in only its third year.

I now chair meetings, manage claims and review reports written by other Claims Administrators. Working in this role has allowed me to further develop my communication skills, leadership skills and technical knowledge.

I am proud of my achievements at Fiscale. I am a valued member of the team and feel that I have played a role in the success of the company to date. It is interesting to see how a business evolves from a start-up to employing 14 members of staff with over 150 clients and a turnover of over £1.3 million.

I can see that now we are an established business with processes and systems that are vital to our continued success. Back in 2014 we all had to be very flexible in our approach. It was a case of “all hands on deck”, from making the tea to sales calls and chasing new business, in addition to processing claims. Today our job roles are more clearly defined but it is still important to retain a level of flexibility and a willingness to be involved with whatever needs to be done.

I am excited to see what the next three years will bring for Fiscale as our expansion plans come to fruition. From my perspective I am really happy that I chose the apprenticeship route rather than going to university. I have three years of solid business experience, no debt, recognised qualifications and lots of opportunity. It has been an interesting journey so far. The next stage for me is to pursue my ambition to become a Chartered Tax Advisor.

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