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Nathan Baker

Apprenticeship: AAT Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Accountancy

Employer: Balfours Property Sales, Land & Estate Management

Tracing its history back to 1826, Balfours offers services offers services in Property Sales, Land and Estate Management and Property Lettings as well as specialist consultancy in a wide range of sectors. Nathan Baker started his career with the company when he completed a school work experience placement with the accounts department in 2011, since then he has completed AAT Levels 2, 3 as an Apprentice and is in his second and final year as an AAT Level 4 Higher Apprentice. 

“My experience just shows the importance of a good work experience placement. I worked as a trainee chef at another company as well as at Balfours, which made me realise both what I did and didn’t want to do! 

As I have progressed through the Levels 2, 3 & 4, responsibilities have increased here at work. This includes a variety of tasks throughout the year with regular reporting being sent to clients. Having positive feedback for these from the clients themselves gives a good sense of achievement

There is a lot more to it than just being good at maths; there is the communication side of the job, dealing with external accountants/agencies, tenancies and clients. The second year of my Higher Apprenticeship which I am currently studying is based on Business Skills. Even though it seems a bit strange to be doing this after all the accountancy training it has actually been very constructive. As an accountant you don’t often work in isolation from the wider business community. This type of study is very beneficial in the long run as it prepares you for working in a multitude of business environments. These skills coincided well with my move to the larger office in Shrewsbury; I am now working in a much broader business context and feel that I am well-prepared for that progression. 

In my three years at the College I cannot fault the level of support from tutors. It has been great to be working and learning at the same time. I have been able to adapt into employment gradually and been able to apply my learning straightaway, leading to a better depth of understanding than just working from a textbook. I think this is why apprenticeships are becoming so popular.”  

Ian Williams, Head of Accounts at Balfours added, “Nathan is quite a find! We knew from the beginning that we should look into taking him on as an apprentice. He has been invaluable in helping with the additional workload from the successful and expanding business. His College training has combined well and the whole process has been full of positives.”