What did you do before joining the training scheme?
After graduating from my music degree, I worked for another university – a music conservatoire – as Assistant to the Director of Finance & Estates. This role gave me great exposure to senior management and an insight to the world of Higher Education Finance and general decision making.
What attracted you to the scheme?
I always knew that I wanted to work in an arts or education organisation but on the ‘business’ side. My interest in Higher Education, which increased greatly over the course of my previous job, and the opportunity to study for a respected professional accounting qualification were the two main draws for me to the scheme. I also saw the chance to try several jobs over the course of the scheme as a big positive, enabling me to compare roles to aid my decision making in terms of future career paths.
What has been the highlight of your time on the scheme?
My first placement on the scheme was as Finance Business Partner for Estates Facilities, one of the largest departments – financially speaking – in the College. I enjoyed taking ownership of the department’s budget during the planning round and working closely with individual budget holders and the Director of Estates Facilities. I found being able to help budget holders and explain finance processes and procedures to non-finance colleagues very rewarding.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Although music and maths have many links, and maths has always been a reasonably strong point for me, I didn’t have much specific finance experience. There was a lot to take in early on, getting to grips with the College’s finance systems and learning technical accounting and finance terms. Studying for the ACCA has helped a great deal with technical understanding and it has been invaluable having a support network with the Finance Trainees, all at similar stages in our development.