Firm grows thanks to success of apprentices

L-R: Dave Gibson, Simon Blincowe from Access Training,  Jon Dudgeon,  Harry Cooper and Shannon Asiamah.
L-R: Dave Gibson, Simon Blincowe from Access Training, Jon Dudgeon, Harry Cooper and Shannon Asiamah.

An accountancy firm has doubled its team and seen turnover rise thanks to an apprenticeship scheme.

Blu Sky Chartered Accountants, based in North Shields, has seen turnover rise 25 per cent while they now employ 12 people, compared to six employees two years ago.

Director Jon Dudgeon, who set the company up with tax advisor Dave Gibson, said the catalyst of the expansion was taking on two apprentices, with support from Access Training, while there are plans to take on two more.

Accounts apprentice Shannon Asiamah, 18, was taken on two years ago while Harry Cooper was recently taken on.

Jon said: “I’m really keen to share our experience of apprenticeships with other small businesses because I was really surprised by just how much they can benefit a company.

“Our apprentices have brought real, tangible benefits to us. As a small company, our employees are our lifeblood.”

“We expected to have to wait a couple of years before our apprentice Shannon was able to effectively contribute but she has significantly surpassed our expectations and, as well as being a popular character within the team, she is already responsible for 60 clients’ VAT returns.

“She also helps with our marketing and brings new ideas to the table.”

Shannon and Harry are studying for advanced level accountancy apprenticeships with Access Training which has training centres in Gateshead, Newcastle and Chester-le-Street.

Trainer at Access Training, Simon Blincowe, said: “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 apprenticeships equip learners with useful workplace skills from day one.”

Shannon 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.”