Nathan Jones, Associate Director
“Like many young people, I was pushed down the university route and despite studying a subject that I was passionate about, I still knew that this pathway wasn’t for me. So, to prevent me going into more debt for a route that I wasn’t 100% committed to, I decided to leave my course and look for an opportunity where I could earn and learn. Accountancy wasn’t a career I’d ever considered, but a friend made me aware of a junior position at Champion and the rest is history.
“Fast forward to present day and I help recruit and train our trainees having gone through the same journey that they’re embarking upon. For me, I look beyond a person’s CV and search for someone with confidence and charisma, as the rest we can teach. Client relationships are key and having a trainee that we can picture in front of a client is incredibly important.”
Max Kilshaw, Audit & Accounts Semi-Senior
“The accounting route was always the career pathway for me and after listening to a number of accountancy firms come in and speak to us at college, Champion stood out to me, particularly their Platinum ACCA accreditation.
“For those who are thinking of applying for Champion’s trainee programme, I’d say to try and get as much experience as possible, even if it’s a placement or a part-time job, as this helps you to stand out from the crowd. Also, be yourself and you’ll go far.”
Niamh Bonnet, Audit & Accounts Semi-Senior
“I came across Champion after seeing an advertisement on my college’s message board and attending their talk. I favoured a smaller business where I could hit the ground running from day one and found the whole application process very simple.
“There’s far less support at college for those who choose the earn while you learn route compared to those who decide to go to university, yet this didn’t phase me. With accountancy, you don’t need to go to university to fast track your career; and that really appealed to me. Champion wanted someone enthusiastic, hard working and committed, as they could teach the rest.
Aidan Oliver, Tax Advisory Associate
“I studied at Winstanley College, which pushes its students down the university route. I knew it wasn’t the right path and was introduced to Champion during a careers day. The position really appealed to me, especially the fact that I could fast track my training compared to someone who had gone to university, meaning I’ll become qualified much quicker than if I’d gained a degree. Experience speaks volumes and having been thrown straight into my AAT, I’ve already begun working on larger client accounts and am excited for the future.”
Russell Spencer, Client Manager
“I went to uni to study IT and Business, but I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue. An accountancy module sparked my financial interest, and after university, I set about finding a trainee placement and qualifying as an accountant. Because I had a degree, I could skip my AAT and begin with my ACCA, qualifying in summer 2009. I then took on responsibility within audits, before becoming a client manager, the position I hold today. I now oversee a growing portfolio of businesses as their key point of contact and strategic advisor.
“You don’t need to go to university to become an accountant; you just need to be willing to put in the work. You can learn everything in a traineeship, studying as you work. Of course, you’ll need good communication and self-motivation, as there’s a lot of independent study alongside your job, but it definitely pays off and is all worth it.”
Luke Evans, Audit & Accounts Semi-Senior
“I always wanted to go down the accounting and finance route and despite lots of my friends going to university, I didn’t want to end up in debt. Having looked for alternative routes to learn, I came across traineeships and then found Champion. The trainee programme was exactly what I was looking for and I felt that starting my career now would give me a head start compared to a graduate, plus I wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of paying for my education. Not enough young people consider traineeships, yet the hands on experience you gain is unrivalled.”