Young people leaving school or college this summer will be thinking about their next step.

Securing an apprenticeship is an important route for many into the workplace and combining learning, working and earning provides a great start for their career ahead.

At Mercer & Hole we currently have over 20 apprentices across different service lines all of whom will springboard their careers from the grounded business experience they will receive. We want all our employees to thrive with the strengths they have, and ambitions they hold.

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Steve Manuel, Poppy Hawkes and Jo UpshallSteve Manuel, Poppy Hawkes and Jo Upshall

Steve Manuel joined September 2021 and studied A Levels in history, photography, economics and maths. He is now several months into a two year apprenticeship with the audit team. Based in our Rickmansworth office, a typical day for him involves account preparation for a range of different clients.

Steve’s advice for others considering a similar route: “Always keep your options open. Schools tend to push uni quite a bit and apprenticeships less, so just be aware of this and keep those options open.

"Take a look, it is worth doing. Depending on what qualification you want to do it can also be a faster course to get you there.”

Poppy Hawkes is in the second year of an outsourcing apprenticeship working in both our St Albans and Rickmansworth offices in the outsourcing department. Her day to day role is to keep clients' monthly and quarterly book keeping up to date, which helps with the preparation of VAT returns and management accounts.

Poppy joined us after completing A Levels in maths, English literature and history.

“I always wanted to do an apprenticeship," said Poppy. "Even when I was applying to university and going through the process I knew I didn’t really want to do it. I chose Mercer & Hole to apply to as the interview process seemed really clear on their website and you knew exactly what you were applying for. "It made me more trusting, especially as they have lots of experience with apprenticeships rather than a business just starting up.”

Jo Upshall, Audit & Business Advisory Partner at Mercer & Hole said: “Apprenticeships are helping businesses recruit, retain and train the next generation of their workforce as well as to upskill existing employees to help them move forward within the organisation.

"At a time when there are more job vacancies than people actively searching for work, employers need to become more competitive in their offering to help them recruit and retain the best staff.

"Many people have ambitious goals of where they would like their career to take them and they are looking to work for a firm that will support them on this journey.”

We’ve been speaking to a range of apprentices and business owners in and around Watford to find out more about their thoughts on the apprenticeship scheme for those straight from school and to help upskill existing employees. You can find out more at: