A LEADING North East accountancy firm is a shining example of how success can come through apprenticeships.

JFS Torbitt Director Jane Freeman and Practice Manager Derrick Hutchinson are both former apprentices who met while serving at the same Newcastle company during the late 1990s.

After completing their training, the pair started their own practice in 2009 before acquiring the former Torbitt & Co in 2014 and renaming it JFS Torbitt.

Now they are encouraging young people who are interested in a similar career to consider looking into a modern apprenticeship as an alternative to the traditional university route.

“Derrick and I are proof that these schemes not only work, but can give young people the best start possible on the career ladder,” said Jane.

“We were both very keen to do well and rise to the top and our apprenticeships gave us that chance. Without them, we probably wouldn’t be here now.”

Under accountancy apprenticeships, young people get to train in finance departments and firms, earning a salary as they learn before receiving a recognised qualification at the end.

They benefit from hands-on experience as they learn the skills needed to be a successful accountant, without the debt a university degree can leave behind.

Derrick is hoping more and more young people will consider this route into the industry in future.

“Jane and I both agree that those early years as an apprentice were very important,” he said. “The chance to learn on the job and the opportunity to develop vital skills can really put apprentices ahead of the game and they generally have a head start over graduates.

“I would certainly urge anyone who is considering a career in this industry to look into an apprenticeship as well as considering university.”

JFS Torbitt recently moved its headquarters into the former Barclays Bank site at Durham Road in Birtley after outgrowing its former office, also on Durham Road.

It has a second branch in Blyth, and now employs 14 members of staff and boasts more than 1000 clients.

For further information visit the website www.jfstorbitt.co.uk.

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