Since starting my apprenticeship with Dafferns, I have been striving to achieve the best I possibly can through qualifications and any awards which are within my reach. I applied at Dafferns in my second year of A Levels, attended a second interview where I was asked to complete my A Levels then join the firm a year later. Securing a job, a year in advance, before sitting any exams, is nearly unheard of so I had set myself up well for the final year of my A Levels.
Within a month of finishing school, I was through the door of Dafferns for my first day to start a successful journey of becoming a qualified accountant. I attend college one day a week and have so far passed all my exams, obtaining my AAT Level 3 qualification. Dafferns have assisted with this learning process by giving me on the job experience and accommodating any additional requirements I have had. A year on from my first day I heard about the Coventry Freemen’s Guild Apprentice of the Year award. Dafferns fully supported my decision to nominate myself for this award and so the application process began.
The application was thorough, not only asking about my school and career progress but about any volunteer work I do. I had achieved a lot in my first year at Dafferns, along side of volunteering 6 plus hours every week at my local Scout group. The applications were sifted through and interviews took place for the shortlist of nominees. I was shortlisted and therefore attended the Coventry Guild Hall for an interview which was based on my application. Upon arrival my photo was taken and I was invited into the room with the panel of judges. When leaving the interview, I felt pleased with how it had gone although even more nervous for the awards evening.
The evening of awards arrived which I attended with my parents, Deborah Austin and Sophie Essex-Masmoudi from Dafferns. This was a black tie event which built my nerves even more as this was a very worthy award. I was whisked away into a separate room for a drinks reception and to meet the other finalists for the first time. We signed a scroll, had plenty of photographs taken and then shown the order we were to walk out into the main hall.
All the evening guests applauded the finalists into the room and we were shown to our seats and so the evening began. A profile was read out about each of the finalists and this was when I realised just how strong the other finalists were. I remember thinking, ‘If I am to win this award, I am going to be so proud of myself’.
Nervous was an understatement of how I felt and right up until the moment of announcement, emotions were building. As soon as I heard my name I froze stiff…shocked but elated at the same time. I have just been announced Apprentice of the Year 2017!
Awarded with a big trophy and a cheque, I was also awarded a VIP day at sea on HMS Diamond by the captain himself.
Since winning the award my progress and achievements have continued. I have passed all of my exams, been nominated for a government award, used as a case study by the government and local magazines. Winning this award has given me such a confidence boost, aided in networking and added a significant achievement to my CV. I hope sharing my experiences will encourage the younger generations to aspire to achieve the best they can because anything is possible!