An accountant is urging youngsters to take the opportunity to train with one of the county’s biggest firms.

Armstrong Watson LLP, Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers has launched a recruitment drive to take on nine accounting technician trainees and three budding chartered accountants.

Accounting Manager Lauren Cannar joined the firm straight from sixth form at Carlisle’s St Aidan’s County High School more than eight years ago, after gaining A-levels in maths, psychology, PE and English.

She took part in a five year training scheme, gaining her level three and four qualifications with the Association of Accounting Technicians before qualifying with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2015.

Throughout the five years of training, she was paid by Armstrong Watson, including for time she took out to study for the qualifications, which the firm also paid for.

She worked at Armstrong Watson’s Hexham office for two years before moving to the audit department in Carlisle. She is now an accounting manager at the firm’s Fairview House office.

“At the time I was looking at going to university or different routes and I always preferred the idea of learning and earning a wage rather than owing money, so to me an apprenticeship was more attractive,” she said.

“You are putting into practice what you are learning at the same time as you’re studying and you’re developing your career

“Armstrong Watson were very supportive throughout it and the firm continues to support me in my career.

“I manage a portfolio of clients that I look after alongside my team of four people and our wider service line. I work across a range of clients and sectors, predominantly with owner managed businesses from hotels to manufacturers across industries and company sizes.

“Day to day I will be looking after the clients and working with my team, reviewing the accounts and tax to support and advise our clients. I will also be regularly speaking to potential new clients. Nothing is more important than building strong relationships with our clients so you become like a member of their team.

“What I enjoy about my role is the interaction with people, I enjoy understanding how a business operates and what’s important to my clients so I can help advise them for their future.”

The recruitment drive is the largest single intake the business has ever undertaken and will offer local school and college leavers and graduates the opportunity to earn while they learn.

Paul Dickson, CEO and managing partner of Armstrong Watson, said: “We have a long history of growing our own talent and those who join us will not only have the opportunity to become future business leaders, but as a top 30 UK firm, will work at the cutting edge of legislative and technical changes in accounting. We strongly believe our people are our business and we’re looking to invest in ambitious individuals who are keen to launch their careers and take advantage of the many opportunities offered by training with a rapidly growing local firm.”

Armstrong Watson has been named by the AAT as one of the top five accountancy businesses within the UK in which to ‘kick start your accountancy career’. All AAT trainees will receive on the job experience, alongside classroom study, as they work towards achieving up to level four qualifications over a two year period.

Click here to apply for one of the roles at Armstrong Watson

Those enrolled the graduate will receive three years training and hands on learning opportunities as they work towards chartered accountant status. The closing date for applications is February 28.