An inspirational young Thurles mother is on a quest to become a forensic accountant by the age of 30, with the help of an accountancy apprenticeship which allows students to work, earn and learn.
Rebecca Ryan (24), is in the second year of an Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) apprenticeship with Clare County Council.
The apprenticeship, which will create 140 jobs nationally this year, is a funded, two-year work-based learning programme in which apprentices earn at least €21,060 a year while attending lectures one day a week with a local college.
Rebecca became a mum at 20 whilst studying a degree course in English and New Media, which she was not enjoying.
After the birth of her daughter Sadie, she took a year out to be a stay-at-home parent but returned to education with the support of her parents and partner Andrew McMahon’s family.
“As a young mother, earning while studying is a huge bonus for me,” said Rebecca.
“When I started the Apprenticeship, I felt I didn’t have to sacrifice or give up anything. I just had to become good at time management.
“But it is not just for young parents, it is for a wide range of people, Leaving Certificate students who are unsure of what to do, employees in the sector who wish to further their careers or career changers who cannot afford to give up their jobs for full-time education.
“Many Leaving Certificate students only apply for full-time third-level courses because they do not know what else to do.
“But the Apprenticeship has opened so many doors for me. I am hoping to gain a trainee contract with a firm of chartered accountants and become a qualified forensic accountant by the age of 30.
“I would certainly recommend the Accounting Technicians Ireland Apprenticeship to anyone who feels the conventional route of university or college is not for them. I love my work and the programme has given me a lot of confidence.
“It is simply amazing. You get two years’ work experience, which is a positive when applying for jobs, and you earn while you learn. Also, the Apprenticeship gives you multiple exemptions if you wish to study to become a fully qualified accountant.”
Applications are now open for the Accounting Technicians Ireland Apprenticeship, which can be undertaken through colleges in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Monaghan, Waterford and Wicklow.
Rebecca, now based in Ennis, studies through Limerick College of Further Education. School leavers, Leaving Certificate students, career changers and mature learners can all apply through Accounting Technicians Ireland. Large firms and smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the programme.
Rebecca, the first apprentice at Clare County Council, hopes to gain a trainee contract with a firm of chartered accountants and be on her way to becoming a qualified forensic accountant by the time she is 30.
According to Gabriela Airini, Head of Education at Accounting Technicians Ireland, the apprenticeship enables employers to recruit and upskill staff in a cost-effective manner as training fees are covered by the state agency, SOLAS.
“The Accounting Technician Apprenticeship continues to contribute towards job creation and business growth in Ireland with over 612 jobs created since the programme’s foundation in 2017,” she said.
“Graduates gain a professional QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Accounting and have acquired the skills needed to fill a range of accounting and finance roles across all sectors of the economy.
“Many are offered permanent employment contracts following the programme with the employer they were apprenticed with.
“Each year, more employers sign up and we now partner with over 331 employers across 22 sectors.”
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