Luke completed his Level 4 Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship while working as a business communications expert at easyNetworks in 2018. Since then Luke not only moved up the corporate ladder, but is now completing his Level 7 CIMA Professional Accountant qualification.
The 22-year-old has also recruited and developed his own team of apprentices as they start their own academic and professional journey through the business.
Of his apprenticeship, Luke said: “Highbury College helped me get into the world of work. My tutors were extremely helpful and supportive throughout my studies and I would recommend anyone to get in touch with the apprenticeships team and see what is available.
“Whereas some apprenticeships only offer a very limited function in a company, at easyNetworks I have been allowed to experience all elements of the business accounting system, which has really boosted my knowledge. I’ve felt my personal development at easyNetworks has always been a priority for the business, and for that I am truly grateful. I now run a small finance team of my own apprentices which I personally love, as I get to see them go through the same experiences I did, and I’m able to offer guidance and support.”
Encouraged by company founder and Managing Director Richard Gwilliam, Luke’s first hire was Accounts Executive Cameron Silk who completed a Level 3 AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting in 2019.
He said: “I believe that everyone who can study an apprenticeship should do so – you’ll experience the highs and the lows of working life, all the while earning while you learn.
“I have enjoyed every minute of working at easyNetworks and moving through the apprenticeship scheme. I felt there was immediate acceptance into the team and that I was able to grow into my role as a valued member of the easyNetworks family.”
Luke and Cameron then went on to recruit Erin Smith into the Finance Team.
Erin is currently studying at Highbury College working towards her Level 3 Assistant Accountant Diploma alongside her role of Accounts Executive.
Erin is relishing the challenge of launching her career while working and studying from home, saying: “I chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to get real life work experience alongside my college course by working in a proper office environment as early as possible.
“Working at easyNetworks has been enjoyable and I feel as though I have already learnt a lot in my role as an apprentice and I look forward to completing the rest of my apprenticeship here.”
It’s not just the finance department who have benefited from the apprenticeship scheme. Recent engineering recruit Owen Lashley joined to develop his career as a Technical Services Engineer while studying at Highbury College for a Level 3 Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship.
Owen said: “As an apprentice, I am finding my learning experience with easyNetworks exceptional. The technical team are open, respectful and can teach very well. I feel trusted with growing responsibilities – it’s all about putting customers first at easyNetworks and I’m finding opportunities to put that into practice. My colleagues are always there to provide me support, I am taught something new every day and the team help to ensure that I feel confident with what I have learned.”
Penny Wycherley, Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College, said: “I’m delighted that our partnership with easyNetworks is providing the skills and knowledge our apprentices need to build a bright and promising future. It’s especially pleasing to hear of the success of one of our apprentices who is now recruiting and supporting his own team of apprentices – well done Luke! Apprenticeships are a great way to learn and benefit not just the apprentice, but also employers, our community and the local economy as well.”
Managing Director of easyNetworks, Richard Gwilliam, said: “We have several current and former apprentices on the team at easyNetworks and I firmly believe in the benefits of apprenticeships for young people and the company. We get to recruit a motivated and engaged member of staff and the chance to instil our technical expertise, values and company culture into them. In return they get all the training, guidance and supervision they need to kick-start their career in their chosen field with a supportive and professional local employer, plus a valuable qualification. It’s a win-win situation and our apprentices bring great energy to the company.
“I’m particularly delighted to see Luke, recently an apprentice himself, is now recruiting, managing and supporting a new generation of apprentices who are already making a difference to the business. There are many talented young people in Portsmouth who just need an opportunity to show what they can do, so I commend this career path to local employers and students alike.”
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