Apprentices help add up to success at awards

Blu Sky co-founder Jon Dudgeon (second right) with apprentices Shannon Asiamah, Sam Grigg, Jess Crowe, and Harry Cooper.
Blu Sky co-founder Jon Dudgeon (second right) with apprentices Shannon Asiamah, Sam Grigg, Jess Crowe, and Harry Cooper.
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An accountancy firm is celebrating after success at a national awards competition.

North Shields-based Blu Sky Tax beat hundreds of companies to be crowned the north east’s Small Employer of the Year at the regional final of the National Apprenticeships Awards.

The firm was launched in 2008 by chartered accountant Jon Dudgeon and tax advisor Dave Gibson.

The fledgling firm has reported a 40 per cent rise in profits and now employs a team of 16, compared to six employees two years ago.

The main catalyst for the company’s rapid expansion was a partnership with Access Training that enabled them to recruit and train four apprentices, and they are currently looking for a fifth trainee.

Jon said: “We’re delighted that our passion for offering apprenticeships has been recognised.

“We committed to offering apprenticeships to school, college and university leavers, as we know the ethos that they provide is refreshing whilst at the same time they are open to learning new skills and processes, benefitting our operations internally and externally.

“Our longest-standing apprentice Shannon now takes control of a variety of clients, being their point of contact with queries, which is highly rewarding to see how much she’s grown, learnt and developed over the last three years.

“Our apprentices are a key part of our team, without which we would not be able to produce the standard of work that clients have come to expect from Blu Sky.”

Managing director at Access Training, Malcolm Armstrong, said: “Blu Sky really are a shining example of how apprenticeships can bolster the success of an SME in a relatively short space of time.

“Long gone are the days when accountancy apprentices are sat in a corner for a couple of years adding up VAT receipts and making tea. Modern day apprenticeships equip learners with useful workplace skills from day one.”

Apprentice, Shannon Asiamah, who has been with Blu Sky since 2013 and is currently following a Higher Apprenticeship, said: “I love my apprenticeship because as well as gaining experience and qualifications, I can afford to do everything I want outside of work

“ Last year I paid for driving lessons, passed my test and bought a car. This year I have paid for two holidays, and I’m proud to say that I earned it.”