Azets, the UK’s largest regional accountancy firm and business advisor to SMEs, has announced plans to recruit an additional 350 new graduates and school leavers as it targets a total of 1,000 apprentices in 2022.
The UK Top 10 accountancy firm currently has 612 apprentices across England, with 174 students having joined the business in August 2021.
Azets is now recruiting another 350 students and expects to reach the 1,000 milestone by the end of this year.
In the North East, Azets has 20 apprentices across its offices in Alnwick, Crook, Durham, Guisborough, Hexham, Seaton Burn, Sunderland and Wynyard, with plans to recruit another 16 by the end of the year.
Investing in the next generation of talent is a key strategy for Azets, as it looks to further expand its offering and continue to deliver a high-quality service to SME businesses across the UK.
In January 2022, the firm’s current student cohort achieved a 95% first-time pass rate in ICAEW, ICAS and ACCA exams.
Azets’ latest graduate recruitment drive is part of a wider initiative which includes 650 new jobs this year, as the firm accelerates its strategy to increase revenue by 50% in the next five years.
The new student intake will be spread across Azets’ 85 UK offices, the largest UK network of local accounting and business advisory offices.
As part of this growth drive, Azets has made a multimillion-pound investment in a fully digitised, mobile-enabled hybrid working environment.
This enables staff more choice and the flexibility and encouragement to work from anywhere as they are fully provided with the infrastructure and systems to support the workplace transformation.
Joanne Regan, Regional Managing Partner at Azets in the North East said: “At Azets we believe that there are real benefits to taking on apprentices into a modern and flexible workplace.
“We see it as a productive and effective way to grow talent and they will support our ambitious growth plans in the North East.
“We see apprentices as a way of developing long term careers for our team and this brings a feeling of belonging and a vital understanding of the goals of the firm.”
“Azets’ position in the accountancy market, as a specialist advisor to SMEs, offers a unique insight to accountancy that no other firm can offer.
“An apprenticeship at Azets could take talented young advisors into any industry or client type, as well as into all the diverse areas accountancy in the modern world covers.”
Jake Hill, Audit and Assurance Associate, said: “I joined Azets 8 months ago on the graduate apprenticeship scheme.
“My role as an Audit and Assurance Associate has exposed me to a vast amount of diverse and interesting work such as preparing accounts and completing VAT returns to working on audits and meeting clients from an array of different industries.
“As a law graduate with no prior accounting knowledge and experience, I knew that this role would be a tough challenge with a steep learning curve.
“However, with the guidance and support from Azets, I am well on my way to becoming a Chartered Accountant on the ACA qualification.”
“I was attracted to Azets as they had a strong focus on supporting apprentices with training, providing opportunities for professional development and a strong presence in the North East so it was a perfect fit for me.
“I get to work with some fantastic businesses in a variety of industries across the region and no two days are ever the same.
“There is a clear route for career progression with countless opportunities to grow and with the support of everyone here I know that this will continue.
“I look forward to having a long and prosperous career with Azets in such an exciting and ever expanding industry.”
The school leaver route at Azets is a six-year programme which includes two apprenticeship programmes leading to the student becoming qualified in their AAT and then moving onto their chartered accountancy qualification.
The graduate route is a three- or four-year programme where students study toward their chartered accountancy qualification.
An apprenticeship with Azets and its training partners provides a bespoke programme that combines qualifications, skills, and behaviours training.
Everyone gets a talent coach, and each new student gets a buddy and substantial amount of on the job training, giving them the opportunity to pave a career path for life.
David Whitson-Black, Group Head of Talent Development, said: “Our commitment to early careers and creating apprenticeship opportunities for anyone looking to join Azets is stronger than it has ever been, we have seen so many fantastic people join our business and continue to see them grow in their roles and with amazing exam success.
“We have increased our opportunities year on year and in the last year seen a massive uptick in applications and offered more than 170 opportunities.
“This has not only been young people, but a range of ages, with people looking for a career change and something different, which Azets offers. This year, we are very excited that we are doubling that to 350.
“Investing in our people and their careers is a key strategy for Azets and will continue to be, benefiting our students as well as positioning the company well for the future, as we continue with our ambitious plans to grow the business and deliver a service of outstanding professional quality, that is both personalised and localised.”
All current vacancies can be found here.