We caught up with alumni student Gina Platt who completed the Level 4 Diploma in Accounting (AAT) with the Middlesbrough College Group in 2022. Now, she is working for Proctor & Gamble as Tax Accountant in the European Tax compliance team.
Gina said: “I started my journey with Northern Skills (the apprenticeship and training arm of Middlesbrough College) soon after I left secondary school at 16 years old, enrolling onto my first of, what became, 2 accounting apprenticeships.
“Northern Skills was the learning provider choice of my employer, and although it was pre-allocated, I wouldn’t have chosen any other provider. Northern Skills personalised my learning and made me feel like more than just a number.
“Throughout my many years at Middlesbrough College, I worked my way through the AAT qualifications, becoming Level 4 AAT qualified in 2022. I particularly enjoyed the personal and business tax modules within my Level 4 AAT, as well as the financial statements of limited companies’ exam. During my time learning the content for this exam, I was working on the preparation of the financial statements for my employer, and I was able to put my academic knowledge into practice at work which helped my understanding of the whole topic and supported my exam pass.
“My learning was mainly classroom based; I was given a full day, once a week to dedicate to my studies which I really enjoyed. It was great to meet other apprentices who were in the same boat and doing the same exams. I found it really helped me with motivation and it was lovely to socialise with other students at lunchtime.
“I had my struggles during my first apprenticeship, tough periods in my personal life started to reflect in both my studies in the classroom and my full-time placement at work. Looking back at that hard time has made me appreciate the continued support I received from my employer and especially the support I received from the staff at Middlesbrough College. The support both mentally and academically was provided, which is something I still value to this day.
“One of the many highlights during my time at Northern Skills was the connections I was able to create. I met my now fiancé at my accounting classes and am due to be married in 2024. A lady I am particularly grateful for is Andrea Scope, a tutor within the Newcastle centre. She really went above and beyond for not only me but, all the students in my class. Andrea really cares about her students and shows this through her consistent encouragement, 1:1 support and her occasional motivational speeches. A special thank you to Andrea for always believing I could do it, even when I didn’t.
“The work-life balance was something I had to adapt to and, although the exams were a challenge, the support and guidance I received from my tutors helped me through.
“I enjoyed my studies and would recommend an apprenticeship with the Middlesbrough College Group to anyone looking to earn their own money and gain relevant qualifications at the same time. This option was, without a doubt, the right one for me.
“Soon after completing my Level 4 AAT, I accepted a job offer from Proctor & Gamble as Tax Accountant within their European Tax Compliance Department, where I have now enrolled with ACCA as a student. In this role I will complete the Indirect Tax returns for local authorities on a global scale including, but not limited to, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Germany. I will also aid in the compliance of tax regulations for various countries around the world.
“Completing AAT Level 4 gave me exemptions from the whole of the applied knowledge module in ACCA, leaving me with 10 of the 13 exams to complete. I have recently passed my taxation exam and have now moved to studying financial reporting, with plans to sit the exam in September 2023.
“Studying AAT has given me the foundation knowledge to help me achieve my long-term career goals. The qualification has allowed me to seek new, more challenging job opportunities and my long-term goal is to finish my ACCA qualification and become a chartered accountant while continuing to gain experience in various aspects of the accounting world.”