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Emma Skinner


During National Apprenticeship Week, Emma Skinner, who is an associate director at accountancy firm Haines Watts Swindon, is calling for a more holistic approach to apprenticeships.

Emma said: “Apprenticeships have come a long way. They are no longer aimed at a specific age group or a specific level but are role-specific development programmes with tailored on-the-job training. Apprenticeships are open for anyone over the age of 16 to start, and it’s important to highlight there is no upper age limit. 

“You can have a previous qualification, like a degree, but must not be in education. They offer huge flexibility in terms of training providers, training structure and course selection. All of this maximises the benefits for the learners and employers.”

Trainees, apprentices and interns joining Haines Watts study with a range of professional bodies including Swindon College and BPP to gain their professional qualifications whilst gaining their practical skills through on-the-job training. This means they can put their studies to use in real time and benefit from mentors within the workplace environment.

“As with other professional service providers, we as an accountancy firm are focussing more and more on the future of our firm. At the heart of our firm are our people, and this is why investing in the next generation is a priority of ours,” Emma said. 

ary Ghirau joined as an audit and accounts trainee highlights his apprenticeship experience;

“My first apprenticeship was studying ACA at Level 7 with a previous employer. I realised it wasn’t for me and made the change to study Level 3 AAT when I joined Haines Watts. It has been a positive transition, and having the flexibility to change courses to a level that suited me better meant I kept going with my studies.”

“The Partners and team at Haines Watts are very supportive and the working environment is less stressful than at my previous employer. I actually look forward to coming into work now and enjoy the work life balance Haines Watts gives me. It’s also been great to see how many of the team have worked here for so long.”

There are currently three team members on apprenticeship schemes, all of which have either transferred their studies over with their employment to Haines Watts or changed courses whilst already employed. Maddie Moorman originally joined on a business administration apprenticeship within the admin team and has since transferred into the tax department to study for her ATT level 4.

“My original apprenticeship was in business administration and once I completed level 3, I transferred into the tax team where there was an opening. The skills I learnt within the admin function provided a solid basis for starting my ATT studies, so it felt like a natural progression.”

National Apprenticeship Week is a government-led initiative which is now in its 17th year and the theme this year is ‘skills for life’. There will be multiple events up and down the UK to encourage employers to engage with apprenticeship providers to empower young people and those changing careers to embrace the skills of the future. 

With offices located in Old Town Swindon and Cirencester, Haines Watts was founded in 1930 and is a UK top 20 firm of chartered accountants and business advisors with over 30 offices throughout the UK and employs over 800 people. For more information visit

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