Developing the Tech Experts who will help us build a better future

10th March 2021

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The requirement for businesses to adapt to new ways of working in order to survive the challenges posed by the pandemic has created huge demand for leading technology companies to share their skills, knowledge and experience.

 

Emma is a shining example of the value our apprenticeship scheme brings, both to the individual and the company.
 

The primary objective for Elite Group – as a typical example of a customer-focused, high-tech company – is to help firms navigate the plethora of technology options available to them, to separate the wheat from the chaff and help firms by above everything else, prioritising their requirements.

Elite Group’s role in enabling firms to remain competitive in this challenging environment is to provide businesses with the information technology and communications solutions which are the best-fit for their particular needs and will give them the peace of mind that they have the most secure, collaborate, productive and profitable solutions available.

Because of this, we are seeing a high demand for our people with sought-after experience in information technology and communications system expertise to help firms implement the systems which will enable them to increase their capability and competitiveness.

Therefore, focus is increasingly turning to how we – both on a business and on a national level – create, teach and develop the skillsets and knowledge of our next generation of workers. It is no surprise therefore that businesses up and down the country and across multiple sectors are investing in apprenticeships.

To complete our latest round of interviews aimed at providing an overview of what it’s like to be an apprentice here at Elite Group, we spoke to management accountant Emma Riley.  Emma’s is another of our success stories and she is a shining example of the value our apprenticeship scheme brings, both to the individual and the company.

Having completed her apprenticeship here at Elite Group, Emma now works as a Management Accountant and is studying for her CIMA qualification (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

 

Let’s start with finding out a bit more about you – can you tell us about your career history so far and your current role within Elite Group?

I think my route into Elite Group was perhaps one of the more unusual ones, but nevertheless an exciting one for me!

In July 2013 I was fortunate enough to be able to embark on a few weeks’ work experience during my college summer holidays.

Elite Group then kindly offered me paid work during the half term breaks whilst I completed my A-Levels. In 2014 I was offered a permanent position that included my AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) apprenticeship which allowed me to go on to study my CIMA qualification too.

I now work in the Management Accounts team and work closely with the wider Finance function to help produce the monthly management accounts which provide valuable, up-to-date financial information to the wider teams.  It is really exciting because all of this information is crucial in daily management and decision-making, helping to steer the business in the right direction for us as a business and for our customers.

I mainly work on the communications side of Elite Group but our flexible approach means we do work across the different areas of the business.

 

How did you hear about the apprenticeship opportunity at Elite Group?

I had been searching high and low for opportunities to join both an interesting and exciting organisation.  I was looking both online and keeping an eye on industry journals and then by complete chance, a family friend who was working at Elite Group asked if I would be interested in becoming a member of the Elite team.  I was of course delighted at that suggestion and so I made the appropriate enquiries because it seemed like the perfect opportunity – almost fate or a dream come true!

 

What will be the outcome for you at the end of your apprenticeship?

Having completed my AAT Apprenticeship, I am now studying for my CIMA qualification (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and then I will be a qualified Chartered Accountant.

 

Why did you go down the apprenticeship route and not a traditional post-16 education?

I was originally planning on going to University, however, I did have reservations about it as I have always enjoyed getting tangible, hands-on experience. So, when Elite Group offered me the opportunity of an Apprenticeship which would enable me to gain valuable qualifications in my chosen area of expertise whilst earning a wage and gaining real-life experience, I jumped at the chance!

I’d reinforce what my colleagues have said:  the apprenticeship route is such a great way of embarking on an exciting and fulfilling career.  It provides the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience whilst earning and working towards valuable qualifications which you’ll have for life in your chosen field.

 

How have you fitted in as part of the Elite Group team?

As everyone was so supportive from the word go, I found it was really easy to fit in to the Elite Group culture and structure. I started working as part of the Billing team and gained five years’ worth of valuable experience there.  In my role, I worked closely with the majority of all the different departments in Elite Group and that gave me a great overview of the business and everyone was so friendly and happy to help me with any questions I had.

Working in the Billing team has also helped me understand the workings and intricacies of the wider Finance functions and gave me a good grounding of knowledge and experience which I put to best use when completing the management accounts.

 

What has been the biggest learning curve for you during your time as an apprentice at Elite Group?

I don’t think anything has been particularly onerous or difficult or me, but I would say that for anyone working in any organisation, to start with, figuring out how to strike the right balance between work, studying and social life is all part and parcel of one’s working life as a whole.

 

What excites you most about your future at Elite Group?

We as a team are all really excited to be doing tangible things to help our customers cope with the many challenges posed by the pandemic.  Supporting our clients is even more important now with their changing requirements which are understandably evolving at this point in time.

The potential new opportunities in the ever-growing technology market are obviously tremendous. Also, with the industry constantly-evolving in order to keep up with demand from organisations needing business-improving technology,  it keeps our work interesting and  there is always something new to learn.

I’m very much looking forward to in future gaining an even deeper insight into the technical aspects of the varied services we offer our clients and using this insight to further support our teams internally and our customers.

 

As an apprentice how are you finding working from home and learning at the same time?

I have to say that it does have its challenges to say the least! It can be difficult to sit in my office all day and then return in the evenings and at weekends to study. However, I think it is true to say that anything worthwhile entails hard work and dedication.  I also know I am fortunate to have this opportunity, as many people are not as fortunate, and for me the pay-off for all the hard work and effort will be very much worth it in the end when I am fully qualified.

It has also been good to have something positive and constructive to focus on during lockdown.

Elite Group as a company has also been fantastic with working from home, offering plenty of support both on the technological and wellbeing front – throughout each lockdown.

 

If you were describing what it’s like to work at Elite Group, what would you say?

  • There is a great culture at Elite Group, it’s a friendly place to work with a good atmosphere when we are in the office and even remotely because of all the fab tools we use like Microsoft Teams, we can work together and stay connected as much as possible
  • It really is great to be part of a company that is constantly striving for improvements and encouraging everyone to get involved
  • The company is flexible in helping you achieve your tasks and fit everything around your working and studying needs and with openness and communication you can find a solution which works for you.

 

If you could give a new Elite Group apprentice any advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid of getting stuck in and ask lots of questions to really help you with your understanding of the business.  Everyone that I have dealt with have been completely transparent and more than happy to assist me, you only need to ask.