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Webinar: Flying high: from apprentice to FC at Luton Airport

Three pictures of people at work with boost your future text

As part of Enrichment Week 2023, we recently held a webinar with guest speaker, Pete Cave, who discusses his career journey from an apprentice to group financial controller at Luton Airport.

Event panellists

Pete Cave, Group Financial Controller, London Luton Airport Association

Group Financial Controller for London Luton Airport Association, Pete Cave, led the webinar to highlight his career journey so far. Pete previously qualified with AAT and the ICAEW, and has recently become a fellow (FCA).

He has over fifteen years of experience working in the accountancy sector in various roles. Pete worked at Baker Tilly for a number of years, gaining experience in their audit department and working on business improvement in the UK while travelling internationally with Baker Tilly International. He also led a team as part of an acquisition when working in industry prior to moving to the airport.

Jenny Pelling, Apprenticeship Partnerships Director, Kaplan UK

Joining Pete was Jenny Pelling, Apprenticeship Partnerships Director at Kaplan UK. Jenny’s career in education and apprenticeships has seen her involvement in designing programmes and enhancing provision for learners and employers’ benefit.

She has strategic responsibility for apprentices’ career progression and their personal development. Jenny also leads “Brighter Futures,” at Kaplan which focuses on social mobility and providing opportunities for all.

Key topics discussed

Pete’s career and background

Pete kicks off the conversation by introducing himself, his job role, and how he started his accountancy career with his AAT qualification. He develops on this by talking through his career journey so far and how his apprenticeship helped him to get to where he is today.

Pete continues to explain how the skills he developed helped him to get his role at Luton Airport, which was supported by his interest in the aviation industry as well as finance.

Day-to-day jobs

Jenny asks Pete to give an example of what the ‘average day’ in his job role is like at Luton Airport. However, Pete’s explanation showcases the variety of jobs and tasks that he may do each day.

He explains further that each day he ensures that his team is aligned and heading towards achieving their team and business objectives. He talks in more detail about the individual tasks that he and his team will do regularly, as well as the importance of understanding the business goals to ensure that his team is providing quality service.

Speech marks

“I’m a firm believer of getting out from behind a desk and getting involved in the wider business.”

Curiosity and the transition from practice to industry roles

Pete discusses his experience, including pros and cons that come with leaving audit practice and going into an industry role. He shares how it is important to work for a company that you’re interested in and excited to work for.

Speech marks

“It’s important to find an area that you’re interested in so that you have a passion for what you’re doing.”

A dose of realism

Jenny questions Pete on the ‘down days,’ and challenges involved in his job role that many professionals may usually avoid talking about. Pete highlights the internal and external factors that can make his job quite intense.

He expands on this by providing examples of how he overcomes any challenges in the workplace.

Advice for growing your career in the aviation and finance industry

Pete provides advice, tips and personal knowledge on how finance professionals can grow their career, particularly in reference to the aviation industry. He also gives examples of what is important to research before an interview, and some of the answers that employers aren’t looking for in an interview.

Continuing the conversation, Pete talks through a few of the skills and qualities that he has gained which helped him progress in his career, such as the passion and determination to achieve his goals.

Taking that leap: industry and practice differences

The differences between practice and industry are discussed, with Pete highlighting that the pros and cons will depend on the specific industry and the individual.

He dives into the topic in more detail by using his experience to showcase the main differences between industry and practice while providing tips and resources on how to get into industry if you’ve previously worked in practice.

Speech marks

“Push yourself, try and get yourself out of your comfort zone and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.”

Major challenges

Jenny provides examples of major challenges in the UK and abroad while asking Pete whether they have any involvement in supporting the business in those cases. Pete explains how they always aim to put the customer first, and gives examples of how the finance teams will support the airport and its visitors in more serious incidents.

Watch the full recording online

You can catch up on the full discussion online now and get some inspiration on how you can progress your career.


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