1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I currently work as a Business Trainee within the Corporate Finance service line, specifically in Restructuring. Having been on the same client (in administration) for the past nine months, my day to day tasks include frequent interaction with the client both to request information and answer queries. I am also responsible for co-ordinating both the approval and payment process of the monthly legal fees incurred, along with our internal billing process. The majority of my time however is utilised in financial analysis for our various reporting requirements, and monitoring our creditor inbox and database which includes responding to various creditor queries. Alongside my client work, I am also involved in sector-aligned business development projects, particularly in relation to the Government and Public Sector projects, with the aim to increase our traction within this specific sector, maintaining and improving our relationships with those in this market, and creating various materials to take to potential clients.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I am working towards my CFAB and then subsequently my ACA qualification, and as such, am gaining invaluable accounting knowledge. I have developed a broad skillset thus far, including networking and communication skills, along with excel skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
My job is very high-pressure and time-consuming, and can be stressful, however EY work to counter-balance this by ensuring you have the opportunity to get involved in sectors that interest you and empower you to follow your own interests. EY rank very highly for their people culture for a reason; a focus is placed on ensuring you have the right support network available to you and the impressive team cohesion is very noticeable. There are regular socials and networking events to ensure you get to know your team, and people throughout wider EY.
4. How valued do you feel by EY?
In my experience, I believe that ensuring that school leavers feel valued by EY is a development point for the future of the school leaver programme. Hard work is expected consistently and it is easy to lose motivation, so ensuring that staff feel as though they are being recognised is key.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The 5 year structure of the programme is very clear. Two years are assigned for the CFAB qualification, with the remaining three years dedicated to the ACA qualification. With both the 'buddy' and 'counsellor' systems in place, you begin with a solid foundation to your ever-expanding support network.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Kaplan is very supportive. For each set of two exams you attend college for two weeks and then have a two week period until the actual exams. During this time you have access to your tutors email address and can contact them with any questions you have. The learning materials provided are also yours to keep, meaning that you can continue your studies at home to really consolidate your knowledge.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
When you first join, you are assigned a 'buddy' who is someone either one or two years ahead of yourself, along with a 'counsellor' who is generally two grades above you. These people are there to support you and encourage your personal development.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The starting salary of £21,500 is very competitive for a London school-leaver. Working and attending social events in London is expensive, and you are well-compensated for this. The salary increases throughout the five year programme are highly impressive.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many socials and events throughout the year, both within your own team/department, and the wider EY. There are various networks such as the EY Women's Network who hold regular social events as well as skill-building sessions and networking events. Joining a firm as large as EY means you join as part of an intake, and spending time at college with these peers allows you to build a network across all service lines and expand your support network.
9a. Would you recommend EY to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
EY places a major focus on their internal people culture, and the development of their own staff. You are consistently encouraged to broaden your skillset and engage in new and exciting opportunities to ensure you never stop learning. The breadth of services offered by the firm mean you are not constrained by any boundaries, and you have the freedom to fully engage in any personal passions you wish to. From early on you are given high levels of responsibility and trusted to interact with clients in a way that is very rare for someone of school leaver age.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to EY? *
When participating in the recruitment process, be sure to focus on selling yourself rather than trying to prove you have the technical knowledge you are not actually expected to have. A lot of people worried through the process that they didn't have the necessary technical knowledge for the role and do not understand fully what it is they will be doing/ what the department they are applying for does. It's important to remember that when applying as a school leaver, the firm is aware that you do not have relevant experience or knowledge and this does not hinder you in any way, as they are recruiting young people fresh from college in order to train them. It's important to remember that the focus is on you as a person, and whether you have the enthusiasm, passion and focus for the job. The people hiring you want to see that you are someone they would be happy to have on their team and depend on to fulfil the delegated tasks.
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