Former Apprentice Case Study – Liz Duggan

Name: Liz Duggan
Employer: SW&A Accountants
Type of apprenticeship: Association of Accounts Technicians (AAT)

Liz Duggan is an excellent example of where someone has used apprenticeships as a means to retrain mid-way through their career.

After leaving school, Liz held various jobs including working in a Payroll and then at Sainsburys as a Price Controller, ensuring the store was fulling its obligations in correct product pricing. Liz had always had a desire to do accounts and in 2008 enrolled Worcester Technical College to do her AAT qualification (Association of Accounts Technicians). This was a big commitment for Liz both in time and financially), not least because she was a single mum with 2 children, and she was funding the course herself.

It was whilst studying on this course that Liz met Neil Sysum who was not only a lecturer on the course, but also ran his own accountancy business. After only 3 months on the course, Neil offered Liz a position in his business, SW & A Accountants in the payroll team which fitted with her previous experience of payroll earlier in her career.

Liz established herself in her role at SW&A Accountants whilst continuing her studies and for the 2nd and 3rd year of the course, SW&A Accountants offered Liz the opportunity to complete her studies as an apprentice, thus taking on the financial burden of the course fees by accessing the Apprenticeship Levy.

After graduating from her AAT in 2012, just a year later Liz became the Manager of the Payroll department in AW&A Accountants in 2013 with 5 direct reports. 12 months later Liz commenced her degree in payroll, and she achieved this qualification in 2017.

Liz has now been with SW&A for 10 years and on 1st December she became Director for the business. She recognises that at the time she went back to college in 2008 that the short-term step back in salary as an apprentice, was a necessary step to invest in her future career opportunities.

Her advice to anyone considering an apprenticeship at the beginning of their career, a change of career or retrain for a new skill is, “my decision to go back to college came at a time when it was a big step for me to take. But my apprenticeship gone on to offer me such a positive pathway for my career and opportunities that I could never have imagined. If you think you can do, just do it.”