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“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

Kaplan apprentice, Rory Murphy

We caught up with Rory Murphy, Level 7 Accounting and Taxation Professional apprentice at The Bannatyne Group, and member of the Kaplan Apprenticeship Advisory Panel (KAAP).

Rory has always had his career goals at the forefront of his mind when making decisions about his future. He has always been a huge advocate for apprenticeships and the work experience that this brings, however, he is now sharing his advice on how to gain the necessary skills that will benefit you for life and help you progress in your career.

Let’s take a closer look…

Could you tell us about your career so far?

I’ve always had a keen interest in business, and I studied maths, business studies, and geography for my A Levels. The finance route suited me because of the link between maths and business. An apprenticeship came up with The Bannatyne Group, a large health club and spa chain, and it was perfect for me as I wanted to go into management accounting.

I never considered university, I always looked into an apprenticeship so I could gain a qualification while earning. I started in a junior role and have progressed over the past five years. I started my apprenticeship in 2019 and by 2022, I took a role in the Reporting and Analysis department as a line manager, which is what I do currently.

Why did you not consider university?

My long-term goal has always been to become a CEO or CFO, so I was looking for ways I could achieve this as quickly as possible. I saw that I could qualify with a CIMA qualification and have years of work experience, versus going down the university route and having less experience. In the future when it comes to applying for more senior roles, I felt I’d be at an advantage.

How did you know about the benefits of apprenticeships?

My parents are a good example for me as they’ve both had successful careers with no university experience. When having conversations with them at 16/17 years old, I knew that university wasn’t my only option. I’m also the youngest of six, and not one of us has been to university but we’ve all done quite well.

“If you want to gain some skills, you can create your own destiny.”

I was also the Head Boy at my college, and during this time, I pushed for more interactions with workplaces and emphasised the message that you don’t have to go to university. They continue to encourage students today to get early experience so they can decide what route they want to take for themselves.

This may be why I found the perfect job for me because I never looked into university so I had a lot of time to do my research. However, I think there’s a stigma where people would only consider an apprenticeship as their last option.

When looking for my apprenticeship, I spoke with an accounting firm in Leeds that said they employ people from both routes, and it’s usually a personal preference for the hiring manager. Some people favour university students, some people prefer apprentices. There are so many different opinions but there’s certainly value in the work experience you gain.

Reflecting on your experience, how would you describe your development?

Back in 2019, I felt like I already knew everything and was ready to conquer the world, but I had to understand that I didn’t know the industry. With the pandemic following shortly after, a lot of opportunities opened up for me.

It was a tricky time for the business as we were closed by the government for a long time, and unfortunately, people lost their jobs. But because of this, there were gaps there where I could step up. For my development, this was probably the best thing as we were thrown into the deep end. So, my development has been really good.

Additional pressures have been perfect and accelerated my development. I soon started to show signs of being a leader, and I was only 21 when promoted to line manager so it was all still new to me.

What is one benefit that you’ve noticed in your apprenticeship?

A huge benefit is the 20% dedicated study time*. This is something that I’ll always mention when recommending apprenticeships. You’re given the time to study by your employer, and it makes such a difference. Focusing on your studies during the 20% time means that, outside of work, you can also see your friends and stick to your hobbies.

When you’re faced with the options of university or an apprenticeship, a big thing for a lot of people is to have a social life - especially if you’re younger. So, it’s good that with an apprenticeship, you can work Monday to Friday and then have money to spend when seeing your friends on the weekend. I didn’t miss out on anything from a social perspective.

What made you volunteer for the Kaplan Apprenticeship Advisory Panel (KAAP)?

My Talent Coach knew I was passionate about apprenticeships and I’m keen to advocate for that, so she recommended the KAAP to me. It’s been a great opportunity and it’s nice to see other people in a similar position but different backgrounds and businesses.

I think it’s important to celebrate all the people who have done well in their apprenticeships, as well as all of the good things about apprenticeships in general, so I’m looking forward to attending the Kaplan apprenticeship awards this year with the panel.

Do you do any other volunteering?

Yes, I’d say that my volunteering experience has been built around my hobby as I run and chair a local football team in Darlington.

Volunteering is always something I’d recommend to anyone, and my advice is that if you want to get somewhere in life and gain some skills, it doesn’t have to be what you’re doing at work - you can create your own destiny. And that’s what I’ve tried to do here.

My long-term goal is to run a business, whether as a CEO or CFO, but I understand that it might be a while away. So, I looked into ways I could get more experience while in a junior role, and then created Darlington Spartans FC.

Darlington Spartans F.C

 

It was a project between me and my friends and it has since grown to have over 300K views on TikTok and YouTube. But I think a lot of people overlook the work that goes into volunteering for something like this. In the last 12 months, it’s cost almost £4,000 to run it. So, I look into ways we can get an income, as well as manage subscriptions and sponsorships. With this, there are skills needed when talking to clients. We have sponsors from multinational corporations to local tradesmen, so I have to be adaptive.

Anyone who volunteers, whether it’s because of a hobby or on the charity side, will likely say that it can be long hours but it’s very rewarding. The skills you gain can set you up for life. If you want certain skills that you can’t develop in your job role until you’re more experienced, or because of the industry you’re in, then volunteering your time is the best way to get them.

With the football team, we have around 40 players, so we’re also socialising, keeping fit and catching up. There are so many benefits if you’re willing to put in the work.

Has Kaplan encouraged you to volunteer?

Yes, there’s always a big push for volunteering, particularly during weeks such as National Apprenticeships Week or Mental Health Awareness Week, for example. There are always things that can be done to push it further, and it’ll be good to have a platform in the future where we can meet other volunteers. Kaplan are good when it comes to providing opportunities and running webinars to push the message of volunteering, and I know that other apprentices find it useful.

I speak to a lot of other apprentices and they always agree when I say that the support from Kaplan is good. We’re encouraged to gain different skills that may not be directly gained from the apprenticeship training, which we can then bring back into the workplace.

What are some of the skills you’ve gained while volunteering?

The main one is leadership, which actually aligns really well with one of the skills in my apprenticeship itself. From a young age, I’ve shown signs of wanting to be a leader, but volunteering gives you the platform to do that. I was only 18 when I started at Bannatyne, and at that age, you might not feel like you can step up as you’re so early in your career - so it’s good to get the skills in an environment where you’re initially more comfortable. It’s easy to notice the progress over the past few years, but it’s not something you can quantify until you look at the bigger picture.

Another transferable skill is time management. I usually take an exam every two or three months, so balancing my time and prioritising exams can be difficult. The football club is important to me, but I remind myself that I also have my career.

There are a lot of practical skills gained for me as an accountant. For example, my volunteer work requires a lot of budgeting, financial planning, and balancing costs with income, for example. Reporting also links well with finance, but it can be relevant in any industry. There’s always a chance you’ll need to translate a message and communicate well, so volunteering helps me to strengthen those skills. But I don’t like to get too distracted by the finance side as the main aim is to keep fit, socialise, and have fun.

Before we go, what are your top three tips for other apprentices?

Firstly, create your own destiny. You can do this through volunteering. Get yourself in a field that you find interesting, and from there you can obtain transferable skills that you can bring into the workplace - it also looks good on your CV.

Secondly, whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. Although I’ve found balancing volunteering with exams tough at times, I’m reminded of the bigger picture, and I know it’s worth it. But you need to remember that you’re doing it for a good reason - whether it’s to win a trophy, socialise, or get a promotion at work.

Lastly, make sure you stand out. I’ve always put my name forward for jobs, even if I’m not suitable for them yet. This gets your name out there, helps you gain new skills and provides feedback. The worst-case scenario is that it doesn’t work out, but you’ll always learn from it.

This also applies when being an apprentice at Kaplan. When I was asked about joining the KAAP, I didn’t think twice before agreeing. The skills you gain just from getting your name out there and learning new things will always benefit you.

The Kaplan apprenticeship awards - submit your nominations

Our second apprenticeship awards will be held on 16th December 2024 at Shangri-La The Shard, London. We have several categories for apprentices, and even for line managers - so join us in celebrating all things apprenticeships and submit your nominations before 16th August.

*Now changed to six hours a week

Looking to upskill?

Find out more

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“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

Kaplan apprentice, Rory Murphy

We caught up with Rory Murphy, Level 7 Accounting and Taxation Professional apprentice at The Bannatyne Group, and member of the Kaplan Apprenticeship Advisory Panel (KAAP).

Rory has always had his career goals at the forefront of his mind when making decisions about his future. He has always been a huge advocate for apprenticeships and the work experience that this brings, however, he is now sharing his advice on how to gain the necessary skills that will benefit you for life and help you progress in your career.

Let’s take a closer look…

Could you tell us about your career so far?

I’ve always had a keen interest in business, and I studied maths, business studies, and geography for my A Levels. The finance route suited me because of the link between maths and business. An apprenticeship came up with The Bannatyne Group, a large health club and spa chain, and it was perfect for me as I wanted to go into management accounting.

I never considered university, I always looked into an apprenticeship so I could gain a qualification while earning. I started in a junior role and have progressed over the past five years. I started my apprenticeship in 2019 and by 2022, I took a role in the Reporting and Analysis department as a line manager, which is what I do currently.

Why did you not consider university?

My long-term goal has always been to become a CEO or CFO, so I was looking for ways I could achieve this as quickly as possible. I saw that I could qualify with a CIMA qualification and have years of work experience, versus going down the university route and having less experience. In the future when it comes to applying for more senior roles, I felt I’d be at an advantage.

How did you know about the benefits of apprenticeships?

My parents are a good example for me as they’ve both had successful careers with no university experience. When having conversations with them at 16/17 years old, I knew that university wasn’t my only option. I’m also the youngest of six, and not one of us has been to university but we’ve all done quite well.

“If you want to gain some skills, you can create your own destiny.”

I was also the Head Boy at my college, and during this time, I pushed for more interactions with workplaces and emphasised the message that you don’t have to go to university. They continue to encourage students today to get early experience so they can decide what route they want to take for themselves.

This may be why I found the perfect job for me because I never looked into university so I had a lot of time to do my research. However, I think there’s a stigma where people would only consider an apprenticeship as their last option.

When looking for my apprenticeship, I spoke with an accounting firm in Leeds that said they employ people from both routes, and it’s usually a personal preference for the hiring manager. Some people favour university students, some people prefer apprentices. There are so many different opinions but there’s certainly value in the work experience you gain.

Reflecting on your experience, how would you describe your development?

Back in 2019, I felt like I already knew everything and was ready to conquer the world, but I had to understand that I didn’t know the industry. With the pandemic following shortly after, a lot of opportunities opened up for me.

It was a tricky time for the business as we were closed by the government for a long time, and unfortunately, people lost their jobs. But because of this, there were gaps there where I could step up. For my development, this was probably the best thing as we were thrown into the deep end. So, my development has been really good.

Additional pressures have been perfect and accelerated my development. I soon started to show signs of being a leader, and I was only 21 when promoted to line manager so it was all still new to me.

What is one benefit that you’ve noticed in your apprenticeship?

A huge benefit is the 20% dedicated study time*. This is something that I’ll always mention when recommending apprenticeships. You’re given the time to study by your employer, and it makes such a difference. Focusing on your studies during the 20% time means that, outside of work, you can also see your friends and stick to your hobbies.

When you’re faced with the options of university or an apprenticeship, a big thing for a lot of people is to have a social life - especially if you’re younger. So, it’s good that with an apprenticeship, you can work Monday to Friday and then have money to spend when seeing your friends on the weekend. I didn’t miss out on anything from a social perspective.

What made you volunteer for the Kaplan Apprenticeship Advisory Panel (KAAP)?

My Talent Coach knew I was passionate about apprenticeships and I’m keen to advocate for that, so she recommended the KAAP to me. It’s been a great opportunity and it’s nice to see other people in a similar position but different backgrounds and businesses.

I think it’s important to celebrate all the people who have done well in their apprenticeships, as well as all of the good things about apprenticeships in general, so I’m looking forward to attending the Kaplan apprenticeship awards this year with the panel.

Do you do any other volunteering?

Yes, I’d say that my volunteering experience has been built around my hobby as I run and chair a local football team in Darlington.

Volunteering is always something I’d recommend to anyone, and my advice is that if you want to get somewhere in life and gain some skills, it doesn’t have to be what you’re doing at work - you can create your own destiny. And that’s what I’ve tried to do here.

My long-term goal is to run a business, whether as a CEO or CFO, but I understand that it might be a while away. So, I looked into ways I could get more experience while in a junior role, and then created Darlington Spartans FC.

Darlington Spartans F.C

 

It was a project between me and my friends and it has since grown to have over 300K views on TikTok and YouTube. But I think a lot of people overlook the work that goes into volunteering for something like this. In the last 12 months, it’s cost almost £4,000 to run it. So, I look into ways we can get an income, as well as manage subscriptions and sponsorships. With this, there are skills needed when talking to clients. We have sponsors from multinational corporations to local tradesmen, so I have to be adaptive.

Anyone who volunteers, whether it’s because of a hobby or on the charity side, will likely say that it can be long hours but it’s very rewarding. The skills you gain can set you up for life. If you want certain skills that you can’t develop in your job role until you’re more experienced, or because of the industry you’re in, then volunteering your time is the best way to get them.

With the football team, we have around 40 players, so we’re also socialising, keeping fit and catching up. There are so many benefits if you’re willing to put in the work.

Has Kaplan encouraged you to volunteer?

Yes, there’s always a big push for volunteering, particularly during weeks such as National Apprenticeships Week or Mental Health Awareness Week, for example. There are always things that can be done to push it further, and it’ll be good to have a platform in the future where we can meet other volunteers. Kaplan are good when it comes to providing opportunities and running webinars to push the message of volunteering, and I know that other apprentices find it useful.

I speak to a lot of other apprentices and they always agree when I say that the support from Kaplan is good. We’re encouraged to gain different skills that may not be directly gained from the apprenticeship training, which we can then bring back into the workplace.

What are some of the skills you’ve gained while volunteering?

The main one is leadership, which actually aligns really well with one of the skills in my apprenticeship itself. From a young age, I’ve shown signs of wanting to be a leader, but volunteering gives you the platform to do that. I was only 18 when I started at Bannatyne, and at that age, you might not feel like you can step up as you’re so early in your career - so it’s good to get the skills in an environment where you’re initially more comfortable. It’s easy to notice the progress over the past few years, but it’s not something you can quantify until you look at the bigger picture.

Another transferable skill is time management. I usually take an exam every two or three months, so balancing my time and prioritising exams can be difficult. The football club is important to me, but I remind myself that I also have my career.

There are a lot of practical skills gained for me as an accountant. For example, my volunteer work requires a lot of budgeting, financial planning, and balancing costs with income, for example. Reporting also links well with finance, but it can be relevant in any industry. There’s always a chance you’ll need to translate a message and communicate well, so volunteering helps me to strengthen those skills. But I don’t like to get too distracted by the finance side as the main aim is to keep fit, socialise, and have fun.

Before we go, what are your top three tips for other apprentices?

Firstly, create your own destiny. You can do this through volunteering. Get yourself in a field that you find interesting, and from there you can obtain transferable skills that you can bring into the workplace - it also looks good on your CV.

Secondly, whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. Although I’ve found balancing volunteering with exams tough at times, I’m reminded of the bigger picture, and I know it’s worth it. But you need to remember that you’re doing it for a good reason - whether it’s to win a trophy, socialise, or get a promotion at work.

Lastly, make sure you stand out. I’ve always put my name forward for jobs, even if I’m not suitable for them yet. This gets your name out there, helps you gain new skills and provides feedback. The worst-case scenario is that it doesn’t work out, but you’ll always learn from it.

This also applies when being an apprentice at Kaplan. When I was asked about joining the KAAP, I didn’t think twice before agreeing. The skills you gain just from getting your name out there and learning new things will always benefit you.

The Kaplan apprenticeship awards - submit your nominations

Our second apprenticeship awards will be held on 16th December 2024 at Shangri-La The Shard, London. We have several categories for apprentices, and even for line managers - so join us in celebrating all things apprenticeships and submit your nominations before 16th August.

*Now changed to six hours a week

Looking to upskill?

Find out more

Related articles

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

From IT analyst to BCS finalist: Apprentice, Chloe Auger

Chloe Auger is the first apprentice that C.I.KNOW has hired, and she was recently a finalist for the BCS IT awards while training at Kaplan.

Kaplan · 7 minute read

“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

“Create your own destiny" - volunteering helps you progress

We caught up with Rory Murphy, Level 7 Accounting and Taxation Professional apprentice at The Bannatyne Group.

Kaplan · 14 minute read

In the top 10: Ben Springall provides his advice

In the top 10: Ben Springall provides his advice

We recently caught up with Ben Springall, a high achiever after completing his CGMA studies and discovering he received a commendation as the tenth in the world for his SCS paper.

Kaplan

View all articles