Champion Round-Up | By Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner
We recently welcomed a new cohort of budding trainees at Champion, a tradition – and landmark moment – we uphold each year.
The arrival of fresh new talent across all our offices is poignant for so many of us, as a large portion of the Champion team began their careers this way. In fact, many of our senior colleagues rose through the ranks from trainee to the director positions they hold today.
As an alternative to university, taking up a traineeship at Champion is a sound decision. Accounts senior Jack Cain in Manchester, who qualified not so long ago, puts it well: “I felt miles ahead of friends that took the university route,” he says. “While they were learning in classrooms and lecture halls, I was dealing with real clients. I also understood all the processes and procedures that are part of office life – those things can take months to get to grips with.”
Our accounts senior Lazarette Mutaki, who joined as a trainee in Manchester eight years ago, adds: “In the very early days you’re taking baby steps, understanding the core principles of accounting, but you’re still exposed to such a variety of business types. Throughout the traineeship you’re soaking up an invaluable understanding of working culture, how different organisations operate, and gaining an insight into the world of business. It goes so far beyond theoretical learning.”
What’s more, Champion funds our trainees’ qualifications, while also paying a salary, meaning they earn while they learn and finish up with zero university debt. And with so many of our team having followed this path, a vast amount of support is available. Jack explains: “Lots of the people I was surrounded by had experienced working alongside taking exams. I got plenty of help from managers and always felt that my studying was taken seriously.”
Lazarette expands on this point: “We had set study days, but so much learning took place in the office. If I had a question, I could put it to my colleagues safe in the knowledge that somebody would be happy to take ten minutes to sit with me and explain. It’s built into the culture here.”
Day one as a trainee at Champion is usually the first step in a career that centres on professional development. In reality, our new recruits’ training won’t end on completion of their traineeship. Lazarette says: “We prioritise professional development here at Champion. It begins with the support that trainees receive while they qualify, but I’ve been here eight years and I’m continuing to gain qualifications, to be supported by colleagues and to learn from them – just as they do from me.”
While many of our trainees enjoy long, fruitful careers here with us, some, of course, do fly the nest. While we’re sad to see them leave, I’m pleased to report that past colleagues in pastures new present an exciting business stream. We have many former colleagues who have set up their own businesses or taken up FD positions in industry and call on Champion to step in as their adviser.
And so, we are all rooting for our new colleagues as they begin their careers with us. We’ll be providing them with countless hours of support and mentorship, in the hope that they go on to have long, happy and progressive careers in the industry.
I’ll leave them with a few final words of advice from Jack, which we would all do well to remember, whatever line of work we are in: “Take it one exam at a time. It can feel overwhelming when you look at the big picture, but it helps to take it step by step. Remember, anyone can do it, you just have to put in the time.”