Hi, I’m Dan and I’m just going into my second year as an audit trainee based in the Leicester office. Over the past year I’ve had a lot of different experiences with Grant Thornton, but one of my really salient memories is of Bradenham and my first of many courses. I thought I’d write a few paragraphs about the course and Bradenham as a training centre, which will hopefully help you to understand more about life at Grant Thornton.
Bradenham, if you don’t already know, is a large National Trust manor house near High Wycombe which Grant Thornton lease and use as a training centre. Bradenham runs all sorts of courses, from softer skills such as networking and presenting, to harder, technical skills, such as tax and double-entry accounting.
Several of the courses are mandatory depending on the line of service and level the employee is at. However, a lot of the courses are not, and we’re encouraged to book onto courses which are relevant to us. Whilst on a course, we are accommodated on-site and can spend the evenings enjoying the grounds, having a drink in the bar, playing in the games room or relaxing in the manor’s living room.
The first course I attended as an audit trainee was the book-keeping course, TM1 (now called breaking records). This is a week-and-a-bit long primer in the basis of accountancy and double-entry book-keeping. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t panic. I did Anthropology at university and consequently knew very little about the workings of accountancy when I first headed up to Bradenham – my knowledge of debits and credits extended as far as using debit and credit cards!
The tutors at Bradenham are Grant Thornton staff, and they’ve all had experience in front facing service lines like audit previously. As a result, the understand how each and every new trainee feels at their first Bradenham course. To aid us, the courses have a variety of learning tools, such as exercises, interactive questions, examples and even role play. The work can be exhausting, but sooner or later that ‘lightbulb’ moment happens and it suddenly all makes sense.
As the tutors have all been there before, they are very accepting when you struggle to understand something. They have amazing patience with trainees to help us along the way. The key is to have faith in the process, because some accountancy processes, such as double-entry, can seem counterintuitive. But from my experience, it’s just a matter of perseverance.
The courses are only one part of the Bradenham experience, and trainees are never there in isolation. At a recent course, there were roughly 80 trainees at Bradenham. The result of this is that there are plenty of new people to meet who are all in the same boat. I have had a lot of laughs with trainees in the evening, and have made many good friends at Bradenham as we all continue along our Grant Thornton career path.
In addition, there are loads of social things to do at Bradenham ? we play football on the lawns, we eat together, we watch TV in the bar together, and on my last visit around 60 trainees descended on High Wycombe for a night on the town. I have become surprisingly proficient at croquet and the games room has provided us with several table-tennis, pool and snooker tournaments.
Bradenham is a fantastic way to meet your peers in the firm, and it is an absolutely essential feature of the Grant Thornton experience.