Only a few short weeks after students throughout Northern Ireland found out their exam results, the different routes into the world of work are in the limelight now more than any other time of the year. Long gone are the days that a university degree would be the only way into a career in the professional services.

Adrien Pelan is the first person to complete a higher-level apprenticeship at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. We caught up with her about her time at the firm and her plans for the future. Adrien is pictured centre with her mentor Andrew McAuley and Joanne Small, Partner

Hi Adrien. You joined Baker Tilly Mooney Moore through the higher level apprenticeship programme at Belfast Met; how did you find out about the opportunity and what were your first steps?

Belfast Met was an amazing place to learn about the business world so it was important to me to find an apprenticeship where I could continue to grow my knowledge, find out more about working life, and get as much experience as I could at the start of my career. An apprenticeship was something I’d been considering for a while so when I saw the opportunity, I jumped at it. Once I had my CV ready to go, Belfast Met put me in touch with Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. An interview later (and lots of nerves!) I was offered the place. It was a really competitive process but with my background in business, it was definitely the right move for me. I’ll be here two years this month and I haven’t looked back.

It certainly sounds like you’re really enjoying your time at the firm?

I’ve really loved every minute. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a whole range of clients in lots of different sectors and am busy providing bookkeeping and accountancy services. The team here have also been great to learn from and my mentor, one of our accountants, Andrew, has been really supportive.  In my mentor meetings, we spent time reflecting on how things are going and what you could do to improve even more, so having a mentor like Andrew has been invaluable. There is also a busy social programme here which I’ve really enjoyed.

What would you say to anyone who’s thinking of an apprenticeship and what’s next on the cards for you?

Do it. Sign up. Make the call, speak to whoever you need to, but most importantly, make the application – you won’t regret it. Learning during an apprenticeship is a whole new way of getting an education and there is so much support and advice out there to make the most of. For me, next up are the ACCA exams next year so it’s study mode for now. I’ll continue to learn as much as I can with Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and having the team behind me will be a huge asset.