The School Leaver Series 2016 – Jenny

 

Over the course of this week, we will be sharing a number of blogs from a few of our school leavers from across the firm. In these blogs, we will be sharing some of the great experiences we’ve had since working at Grant Thornton, whilst at the same time, talking about the key themes that come with joining as a school leaver, as opposed to being a graduate. We hope you find these useful!

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Nine months into my career and I’m sat reflecting on my experience at Grant Thornton so far (as well as wondering where the time has gone!) It feels like only yesterday I was sat in my assessment centre, nervously waiting for my interviews, so it’s a strange feeling thinking about all the things I’ve done since then. I thought I’d give a brief general insight into what a training contract at Grant Thornton can offer you, as well a bit of an outline of what your week could look like.

If you ask the trainees here at Grant Thornton what work-related activity they look forward to the most, I’d bet the majority would say going down to Bradenham. For those of you who aren’t already aware, Bradenham Manor is Grant Thornton’s very own training centre, where trainees from across the UK come to develop their technical learning through a series of courses. Training at Bradenham Manor is a great opportunity to network with trainees you perhaps wouldn’t meet otherwise, so it’s a good place to share ideas and make valuable contacts.

Aside from the theory element of your training contract, there are so many real life experiences on offer that will enhance your knowledge and understanding beyond any text book. For example, in April this year, the Liverpool and Manchester offices came together for the North West Insights Week. This week was focussed on opening up opportunities to gain exposure to all different levels. For example, during the week I shadowed our PSA lead and North West Partner, Sarah Howard at a liaison meeting at one of our Public Sector clients. I got to understand the kinds of conversations that senior personnel have, as I sat next to Sarah and our Senior Manager, Gareth Mills, as well as being opposite the client’s Director of Finance. As an Associate who had been at the firm for only four months, it was great for me to understand what we do and how it matters in the big picture and was an inevitable enthusiasm boost. For the rest of North West Insights Week, I also attended some sessions from both internal and external speakers. I heard a CEO from a start-up company share his thoughts on why he went into business, what challenges he faced and why he decided to chase his dream. I have since had both email and telephone correspondence with him as I was so interested in his challenges and how he pursued something that interests me too. Hearing from speakers who completely transformed their dream into a reality inspires me to do the same and gives me the drive to be bold and take ownership what I want to achieve. It was an invaluable week that taught skills and gave insights that could never be taught elsewhere.

I think that the main thing that stands out for me at Grant Thornton is the scope of opportunity available to you. Since joining the firm, I have been able to volunteer at a charity for a day as well as shadowing our North West Practice Leader, Carl Williams (and having Carl reverse shadow me too!)  I’ve also been able to join some amazing teams at our firm (School Liaison, CLEARR reps and of course, Spilling the Beans!) which has already given me some great opportunities (for example, attending the Talent 16 event! http://traineeblog.grant-thornton.co.uk/2016/09/01/talent-16-vibrant-orientation/ ) Furthermore, I’ve been able to start up my own team, the North West Aspiring Leaders. At Grant Thornton you can make your ideas happen, which to me, is something not to be missed.

I’ve told you about all the best bits, so let’s get back to reality. What does next week look like? Well, on Monday I’m at Kaplan (college) studying towards my AAT qualification and for the remainder of the week I am out on site at a client to do some audit work. But it doesn’t stop there, as I’m also preparing for a presentation course in the Birmingham office the following week. The variety of tasks keeps work interesting and it’s great that on a training contract at Grant Thornton, you can study for professional qualifications whilst getting real life experience simultaneously. I have loved my time so far and are enthusiastic and excited about what the future has to hold at Grant Thornton.

Stay tuned into our School Leaver series as tomorrow we hear from one of our more long-standing School Leavers, Sam Hillyer!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email!

Jenny

(jenny.l.jackson@uk.gt.com)

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