A North Tyneside accountancy firm has doubled its team and seen turnover rise sharply, following the launch of an apprenticeship scheme which it describes as a one of its “major contributors to growth”.
Blu Sky Chartered Accountants, based in North Shields, was set-up in 2008 by chartered accountant Jon Dudgeon and tax advisor Dave Gibson to provide personalised business advice, accounts and taxation services to SMEs.
The fledging firm has reported a 25 percent rise in turnover and now employs a team of 12, compared to six employees two years ago. The company’s client base – particularly in the north east digital and creative sector – has grown rapidly.
Director Jon Dudgeon says one of the catalysts for his company’s expansion was taking on two apprentices, with support from Access Training, and the firm is currently looking to recruit two more. The firm has been so impressed by the impact the move has had on the business that it now only recruits at two levels – apprentice and chartered accountant – because it recognises that, with support, apprentices can cover some of the middle tier work.
Blu Sky employed accounts apprentice Shannon Asiamah, 18, two years ago and recently took on Harry Cooper and, as a result, has seen efficiency soar. The firm has seen a reduction in their year-end cycle from 12 to eight weeks and the time taken to process all VAT and management information data has been reduced significantly.
Director Jon Dudgeon 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 in the service sector, 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.”
Apprentice, Shannon Asiamah, 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.”
Access Training is an award winning training provider with offices in Gateshead, Newcastle and Chester-le-Street and has helped over 5,000 people start and develop careers. It offers apprenticeships at intermediate, advanced and higher levels in a wide range of occupational areas.
For information about management training call 0191 490 2377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org