The Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped quite everything in its tracks. With students throughout Northern Ireland receiving exam results over the last few months, 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 when a university degree would be the only way into a career in the professional services.

Matthew Stubbs is only the second person to complete a higher-level apprenticeship at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore.  He is pictured (right) with Joanne Small, Partner and his mentor Michael Boylan.  We caught up with him about his time at the firm so far.

Hi Matthew. Tell us please a bit about how you found out about Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and this route into work.

My favourite subjects at school were Business Studies and Economics, so accountancy seemed like a really natural fit for me. Originally, probably like most people wanting to get into accountancy, I thought I would end up going to uni, but then I saw an advert for the accountancy apprenticeship scheme. The real draw for me was that it meant I would start to gain experience straight away. I’ve already been here for two years and the time has absolutely flown in.  I’m now qualified as an Accounts Technician through the apprenticeship and have just started working towards becoming a Chartered Accountant.

It sounds like you made the right choice – are you enjoying it so far?

Going through university would have taken far longer to get me to where I am now, so it was definitely the best decision for me. Right from the initial assessment stage at the firm, everyone here was really friendly and supportive which is a huge help. I met Baker Tilly Mooney Moore’s first higher-level apprentice, Adrien, and she talked me through what the process was like for her – which helped to calm any initial nerves! So much goes on here, and it’s a really great team with stacks of social activities too, with things like a 5-aside team to take part in – so it’s not all about work – not all the time at least.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about getting into accountancy via the same route?

Go for it. 100% – it was the best decision I could have made. I’m on my way to becoming a chartered accountant, I’m part of a great firm with excellent experience already under my belt, and I’ve no university debt at all. Everyone faces the initial culture shock when they leave school and get into the world of work, but Baker Tilly Mooney Moore made that process really smooth.