Trainee Associate at EY

Start Date:
Cambridge East of England
Programme Type:
School Leaver Programme
£18,700 annually
Review Date:
April 2015

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1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:


Job Title: Trainee Associate in Assurance Daily Tasks: - Meeting with clients and visiting client sites - Working in audit teams - Everyday tasks include reviewing work provided by the client, picking samples for testing, testing items and obtaining explanations and evidence to support client's work.

Responsibilities: - We are given responsibility over various sections within accounts. - The level of responsibility is very high but if you need help or are struggling help is always given.

2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?


Qualifications: From being in the job 8 months I have already passed two exams. These 2 exams are the first of many and the exams are spread over 5 years.

Training Courses: We are often sent away on training, both for knowledge but also training and events that teach about EY and their values.

What have I learnt?: In the last 8 months I feel honestly that I have learnt more in this time than I have in the last 2 years at sixth form college. The learning curve is very steep to begin with but after a while the job terms and processes become second nature. Before starting the school leaver programme I did not have any idea about accounting and in particular bookkeeping however now I feel that I know a reasonable amount!

3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?


Work: The level of work is quite extensive particularly as I have just come out of sixth form age 18. On average we work about 45 hours a week and this a lot however you feel a large sense of achievement at the end of the week.

Team, Culture & Company: In every team that I have worked in, everybody that I have worked with so far has been really pleasant and fun to work with. Additionally the members of my teams have been extremely helpful and are always approachable if I have queries or am struggling.

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4. How valued do you feel by EY?


Appreciation: I do feel at times very appreciated by EY. We are encouraged to ask for feedback from our seniors in our audit teams and on multiple occasions I have been extremely pleased with the feedback provided. On two occasions I have felt very valued as I was nominated for impact awards. This is an EY scheme where, if nominated, you receive a £50 award for your working efforts.

5. How well organised/structured is your programme?


Training: I feel that the training is organised well however I do have slight concerns that the programme is 5 years long as opposed to the graduate programme that is 3 years long. With this difference in length of training it will result in school leavers performing the same job as a graduate however because of the training schedule, graduates will qualify earlier and earn a higher salary before school leavers.

Organisation: I would encourage that there be slightly more organisation in the beginning of the programme. For example, I feel that a week in the office to begin with would have helped largely instead of being sent to a hotel for an induction week!

6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?


Support: There is support provided which is good because I think for this style of job where the workload is intense, support is definitely needed! One area that I feel should have been addressed earlier is in relation to the training file with ICAEW that needs completing. We have not been shown how to fill this in yet.

6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?


Support: You receive a large amount of support from EY as everyone has a counsellor who are there to help with problems you have and also they provide support on developing your career. EY do run a buddy scheme however my buddy was never told about me and we only met through working together. I do not feel that the buddy scheme has been that effective.

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7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?


Firstly, it should be said that the salary I receive is very good for someone of my age (18), however I feel that for the tasks given to me I feel that my pay should be the same as a graduate salary. At the office I work in, I started in September at the same time as graduates and up until now I have been performing exactly the same tasks as them. Graduates at our office, however, do earn approximately £3K more than school leavers. I do think this is unfair as the expectations for school leavers and graduates are the same however there is a gap in salary.

8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?


Leisure/Events/Social: As of yet, I have been invited to various events associated with work that have been great- the most recent being invited to and attending an event at Twickenham stadium. Additionally, I have gone to EY's Christmas party and work meals which has been fun.

9. Would you recommend EY to a friend?


9b. Why?

Whilst I feel for me, I have learnt a huge amount from EY and have enjoyed my experience, from my set of friends I do not feel that many would like the working hours, job role and the type of job. I feel that this job would be great for people that are prepared to work long hours, have a passion for business and want to work for a large firm, however I do not believe that this school leaver programme would be for everyone.

10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY?

Application Process: I would encourage applicants to practice the online tests, practice interview skills and be confident! When I applied for the programme I did in fact actually fail one of my tests at my assessment centre however (this was a rare occasion), they invited me back and I passed! I was told after that I was invited back because I was confident and showed enthusiasm that stood out.

Experience: I would suggest to everyone applying- make sure you have work experience first! It will really help you to get an initial feel for working before stepping straight into an intense full-time job. Additionally I strongly believe you learn a lot through working and I feel that my Saturday job at John Lewis helped me to get my next job at EY.

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