I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue as a career after finishing sixth form more than six years ago now. And for that reason, I knew university wasn’t the best option for me. Earning a wage while gaining a qualification sounded much more appealing. 

So, when I discovered NGA (now Zellis) were looking for payroll and HR apprentices, I jumped at the chance. Working for a leading company in their sector was bound to be a great place to start! 

Endless support, full-time wage, and on-the-job-learning 

Right from the outset, I knew I had made the right decision. It felt great getting up to go to work every day knowing I was receiving a proper, full-time wage and building on my education at the same time.  

The support I received from my payroll team members was incredible – I could ask them a billion questions and they were always more than happy to help me (or so they said!).  

For me, one of the best things about being an apprentice was having the ability to put my learnings into real-world situations. For example, instead of just studying tax calculation from a workbook, I was able to apply my knowledge directly to the payroll I was assisting on. This undoubtedly helped to solidify my understanding and learn much, much quicker.  

Throughout my first year, I was lucky enough to complete an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in payroll (both level 2 and level 3) awarded by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP).  

Plus, in the same year, I was also offered the opportunity to complete the Payroll Technician Certificate – also awarded by the CIPP – with all three qualifications being funded by my employer. 

Opening the doors to a career change 

For most people, completing an apprenticeship signifies the start of a life-long career path. But for me, following four years of running various payrolls I was lucky enough to have my apprenticeship, industry experience, and the great company I work for open a door to my marketing career. 

An internal move into Zellis’ marketing team meant that I could bring the payroll and HR knowledge across with me – I understood first-hand the challenges that professionals working in the industry are faced with every day. 

Getting myself into a leading payroll and HR company as soon as I left sixth form gave me a head start in my working life and enabled me to eventually move into a role that was more my calling.  

But it’s true that for any individual at any stage in their profession, no matter age or experience, apprenticeships are a fantastic way to further develop your skills and excel in your career.

To learn more about apprenticeships, or to get involved with National Apprenticeship Week 2022, click here.