Top of the class for next generation of successful number crunchers
A RENOWNED accountancy programme that can put a young candidate without a university background on the path to becoming a fully-fledged accountant is celebrating its fifth year.
Douglas Home & Co’s Professional Development Programme has so far helped nine young accountants from Hawick to Edinburgh forge a career in the industry.
The programme has now welcomed its sixth generation of trainee accountants and has been praised for giving young people their start in the accountancy sector, especially those who don’t feel that higher education is a path that suits them.
Since its establishment in 2018, all nine traineeship graduates have worked across various teams in the firm while undertaking further professional qualifications with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT).
Jake Kerr, one of Douglas & Co’s former trainees who now works in the firm’s Accounts Department said: “Upon leaving school, I was really unsure of what career path I planned to pursue but joining the traineeship scheme was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – it made sense right away.
“I’ll likely be qualified at a similar time than if I had opted to go into further education but this way I’ve been able to earn and get really important workplace experience, which I’m confident will stand me in great stead.
“From the get-go, I was given all the right tools to learn the new trade and have been supported with advice and learnings ever since. The programme has given me an excellent foundation to grow into the industry and get fully qualified.”
The programme has been plauded for presenting trainees with the opportunity to embark on the first step on the accountancy career ladder, providing training in VAT and Bookkeeping, Account Preparation, and Tax Returns.
Another ex-trainee, Jody Cree was one of the first to go through DH&Co’s Professional Development programme. She has since risen through the ranks, now applying her expertise in the firm’s Trust and Estate compliance team.
Jody said: “I’m very grateful that Douglas Home & Co gave me the opportunity to be a part of their first trainee programme, I’ve never looked back.
“I’m personally very happy I took this route as opposed to further education. I’ve been able to learn new skills at my own pace and create bonds with the brilliant team here at Douglas Home & Co – it has been a brilliant experience so far.”
Applicants to the scheme are expected to be educated to National 5 or Higher level, but there is no requirement for higher education experience or qualifications. The scheme has supported on average two trainees per year since its inception.
Two of the current company directors rose through the ranks in Douglas Home & Co, having started out as juniors in the firm. Darren Thomson and Sheryl Macaulay are both now Directors at Douglas Home & Co, carrying out their training while working at the company.
Sheryl, who joined as a junior at the firm in 2002, said: “I know first-hand the benefits of training in-house; it opens so much opportunity for daily learnings and provides an incredible support system and career stepping stone. It offered me an important career route into financial services without completing a degree.
“We’re very pleased that the Professional Development Programme continues to go from strength to strength as it celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, it’s rewarding to watch a breadth of young talent come through the system and add fresh-thinking to the firm.
“As we expand further, it’s important that we keep offering young adults these opportunities. The scheme embodies our belief in nurturing local talent, which is at the core of the Douglas Home & Co’s culture.”
As well as the Professional Development Programme, Douglas Home & Co also takes on Graduate Trainees, who gain professional qualifications with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) through an alternative professional development pathway.
Douglas Home & Co was founded in the 1983 in the Scottish Borders, where it remains headquartered. The firm has since expanded to set up offices in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Cumbria, and Northumberland. It prides itself on being a fast growing, forward thinking, local company which provides excellent career prospects.