From school to… a career for life: One alumna’s apprenticeship experience

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2020, recent leaver, Annabelle Simmonds (Class of 2019) reflects on her first five months as an apprentice at EY on a Transaction Business Apprenticeship and how her school experiences at Sydenham High helped shape her for the world of work:

Sydenham High helped prepare me for life after school in a magnitude of different ways. By always allowing me to try new ideas, run my own projects and clubs it allowed me to develop a key skill needed in the word of work – innovation.

“In an ever changing environment, we need to always be able to adapt, change our style and the way we think. With a variety of career fairs, a range of extra curricular activities and several lectures from external speakers, I was able to learn so much about how I can make sure I can do this. At the time, I didn’t realise how valuable these opportunities would be. Perhaps one I took most for granted was learning sign language – a skill I never thought I would use until I joined the world of work.

In year 12 Sydenham High allowed me to run a National STEM Competition (#700STEMChallenge) and through the immense amount of support they gave me, I was able to secure very high-flying judges, including two from Ernst and Young. It was through these two women that I learned about the EY Apprenticeship scheme. As I looked into this opportunity further, I realised it was something I couldn’t let slip away. Always believing that to be successful I had to go to university, Sydenham helped me discover that this was far from the truth. Now at 18 I am working at one of the Big 4 accounting firms, working towards being a qualified chartered accountant at 22, saving towards a house and not having any debt. The experiences I have at such a young age as a result of this apprenticeship are invaluable and everyone at Sydenham encouraged me to grab this opportunity and make a decision I know that I will never regret. With the guidance from Sydenham I now have not just gone from school to a job, but to a career for life.”

You can read more about Annabelle’s experience as an apprentice here

We are pleased Annabelle will be joining us at our upcoming Higher Education Evening when current Year 12  students will get a  chance to ask her about her work life in more detail.