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AAT Apprentice - combining work and study

Abbey Lacey

Meet Abby Lacey. She’s 42, and an Office Manager for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd.  A recent AAT Apprentice with Kaplan, she’s now looking to progress to Level 7.

In a previous life, she was a self-employed virtual PA who did some bookkeeping. She had ambitions to qualify, but time and finances wouldn’t allow it.

Here is her story...


How did you get onto the Apprenticeship?

My CEO suggested I look into different qualifications. I thought an Apprenticeship would be great not only for me, but for our company. We are a small operation, with only ten staff, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an apprentice!

Will you continue to progress through other levels?

I’d like to progress to Level 7 in the long term, but time and finances are always an issue!

What is your long term goal?

I’m happy in my current role but hope, in the medium term, to expand my financial responsibilities. In the long term I’d like to work for myself, and this qualification will really help.

What support did you receive from Kaplan? Can you see the benefit of training with a provider vs doing it on your own?

I have an excellent Talent Coach and am studying in the classroom. Kaplan has been brilliant for me and I wouldn’t change it! From the student services department, to my tutor and the admin staff at Reading, everyone has been really helpful.

What’s been the hardest part about your AAT and how did you deal with that?

Not passing AVBK the first time round.

Having been out of study for many years, and being a perfectionist, it was difficult to admit  defeat, but thankfully I have a great boss and a supportive network of colleagues, friends and family. They boosted me, and luckily I passed the next time round.

Have you managed a good work-life balance throughout your studies?

It’s fairly tricky, but I’m able to have one day a week away from work. I also have a very understanding husband and son who leave me to it.

You do have to be disciplined and stick to your plan.

Do you have any advice for people looking to work in the accountancy industry?

An Apprenticeship is a really good way of combining work and study, if it’s available to you.

Accountancy is a great industry as it’s so varied. You can be working as a sole trading bookkeeper or working in large corporate departments – there’s something for everyone.