Name: Connor Reney
Role: Accounts Apprentice
Studying: Association of Accounting Technicians Level 4
Connor joined PD Ports in September 2018 after coming across the apprenticeship opportunity online and deciding that it would be the best route for him to continue his education and gain hands-on experience.
Now studying one day per week at Middlesbrough College alongside four days working at PD Ports, Connor spoke to us about his role, the support he is offered, and what it’s been like as an apprentice during COVID-19…
Hi Connor. First things first, what did you want to be when you grew up, and how, if at all, has that changed thanks to your apprenticeship?
My biggest dream was to be a footballer! Although I think that ship has probably sailed… but who knows I’m only young there may still be a chance!
Other than that, I always had a keen interest in maths at school and that is probably why I was drawn to accountancy.
What is involved in your apprenticeship?
Every day is truly different. Although my primary role is to handle invoicing, our department gets new queries every day and are always working together as a team to communicate and solve any issues. I also work closely with the Credit Control team to allocate payments and reconcile bank statements.
How vital is real-life work experience for young people?
I think it is possibly the most important way to learn skills. I didn’t have a clue what to expect when first applying for an apprenticeship, but I believe that the only way to learn and understand is to throw yourself into it and just do it!
Every single day is an opportunity to learn something new about working life which is invaluable for the future.
How has PD supported your role and studies so far?
PD Ports has been hugely supportive and helpful in my career so far. I know that whenever I need help, there’s always someone I can turn to. Many of my colleagues actually took a similar path to me and so they understand my journey and can draw on first-hand experiences to help me overcome any issues or concerns.
How has your role changed in the last year due to the impact of COVID-19?
The past year has been a struggle to all of us and the transition from office to home working wasn’t easy to begin with but we’re all definitely used to that now. My actual role within the team hasn’t changed too dramatically but I have had to adapt to a new way of working which has definitely improved my organisation skills.
Has the pandemic changed anything about your apprenticeship, such as online working?
Since March, my learning has all been based online. It has been difficult to learn new things digitally rather than in person, and I have definitely had to work harder to achieve the results I want.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given in the past year?
The best piece of advice I have been given is to ask as many questions as you can! Nobody expects you to know everything – use the experience and knowledge of your colleagues to your advantage and it will shape you to be a better worker in the future.
Do you have any other advice to young people looking into an apprenticeship?
My best advice would be to make sure you love what you do. If you find something you are passionate about and enjoy learning about, then it puts you at a huge advantage both in your studies and when learning on the job.
And finally, what’s next for your career?
My first goal is to complete my AAT Level 4. I would then like to continue my ACCA qualification to become a qualified Chartered Accountant.
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