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Advice on securing an ACA training contract after a Long Career Break Watch

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    Hi
    I completed my Graduation with 2:2 followed by Post Graduation which was decent grades. I have over 5 years of professional accountancy related work experience in good jobs however due to family circumstances I was forced to take career break and now want to resume my career after period of 8 years.
    I want to resume by completing my ACA as nearly all my previous experience is accountancy related and an ACA degree would not only refresh my accounting technique but also let me work in accountancy profession while I study.
    Big problem is that how likely is anyone to accept at a mature student in late 30's to be on their graduate trainee program? Also how does a career break affect someone's decision to consider my application? I am flexible with firm being or smaller and even the money as far as I acquire good work exposure.

    Any advice would be highly appreciated
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    (Original post by clarkenuttal)
    Hi
    I completed my Graduation with 2:2 followed by Post Graduation which was decent grades. I have over 5 years of professional accountancy related work experience in good jobs however due to family circumstances I was forced to take career break and now want to resume my career after period of 8 years.
    I want to resume by completing my ACA as nearly all my previous experience is accountancy related and an ACA degree would not only refresh my accounting technique but also let me work in accountancy profession while I study.
    Big problem is that how likely is anyone to accept at a mature student in late 30's to be on their graduate trainee program? Also how does a career break affect someone's decision to consider my application? I am flexible with firm being or smaller and even the money as far as I acquire good work exposure.

    Any advice would be highly appreciated
    Hey good to see you want to continue your studies!

    Firstly, there is nothing acting as a barrier in terms of qualifying as an accountant. Different to many professions where you need the relevant degree at uni, people can enter accountancy at any age, thanks to the institutions such as CIMA/ICAEW/ACCA, who have structured their qualification methods alongside both graduates and non-graduations.

    What I'd do is look at the ICAEW training vacancy page and see which employers are looking for juniors. Be prepared to be on much less money than you were originally were on. This is the main reason that it's unusual to have someone past their mid-late 20s on a training contract, because it often means sacrificing both pay and freedom to fulfill an ambition of becoming a chartered accountant.,

    Provided the above is not an issue and you have both the energy and time to study for what are pretty solid exams, then there is no barrier to you getting a training contract.

    I personally would look at the training page I listed above, and look for firms not using an agency to recruit (avoid something like SWAT for example). I'd try and talk to a person in the firm, explain your situation, your drive and ambition and ask if you can send them your CV personally.

    Your circumstances are a bit different which would mean submitting an unconventional cover letter, which I think may hinder you in normal circumstances, but if you can explain that you have simply had a break for personal reasons, they may be warmer to offering you an interview.

    Good luck
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    Thanks for the explanation. I've sent CV out for around 10 jobs not even a single interview call yet and got 2 rejections without any reasons may be employers look for young trainees with recent graduation and good A levels and UCAS points.
    Money is not what I am thinking of right now I can easily get job paying more than ACA Trainee but my main priority is to do ACA to bring my accounting knowledge up to date with modern accounting techniques because I have been out of practical side for sometime.
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    (Original post by clarkenuttal)
    Thanks for the explanation. I've sent CV out for around 10 jobs not even a single interview call yet and got 2 rejections without any reasons may be employers look for young trainees with recent graduation and good A levels and UCAS points.
    Money is not what I am thinking of right now I can easily get job paying more than ACA Trainee but my main priority is to do ACA to bring my accounting knowledge up to date with modern accounting techniques because I have been out of practical side for sometime.
    Yeah, a personal application to an actual person in the firm might be your best bet. Normally someone is the recruiter in smaller firms, try to speak to him/her.

    I wouldn't say your desire to do the ACA is purely for relevant accounting knowledge, as they may point out that lots of the ACA isn't actually about accounting (a lot is about tax, investment, management and audit, for example) and might not take too kindly to such a reason being the main explanation for pursuing the qualification.

    I'd emphasise the fact that you were previously pursuing the ACA (and got to x amount of exam passes), for y reason you were unable to complete the qualification, however, now that things have settled, you still believe you have the drive and passion to pass the exams and complete a training contract (from scratch (as I assume you won't be able to continue from where you previously left off)), and that you are happy to start at junior level as someone who knows little about professional practice as your knowledge is somewhat dated from when you used to work at an accountants'. Ensure you emphasise this.

    A lot of small firms may be wary that you are going to expect more and might see you as quite risky in that sense, whereas younger people tend to expect little as they've not been in a professional workplace previously.

    It'll be hard but it's defintely doable.
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    I really appreciate your words of advice but I am not to sure what do you mean when you say about speaking to actual persons in firms and recruiters in smaller firms? I dont quite understand how to do it? Usually only place I am looking to seek and apply for ACA Training contract is ICAEW website and most recruiters there only ask you to send CV and Covering Letter.
    Given this fact how do you suggest I should approach actual people in firms and recruiters in small firms? I am looking at the right place (ICAEW Website) or there are more places I can look to find ACA training contract?
    Thanks once again
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    (Original post by clarkenuttal)
    I really appreciate your words of advice but I am not to sure what do you mean when you say about speaking to actual persons in firms and recruiters in smaller firms? I dont quite understand how to do it? Usually only place I am looking to seek and apply for ACA Training contract is ICAEW website and most recruiters there only ask you to send CV and Covering Letter.
    Given this fact how do you suggest I should approach actual people in firms and recruiters in small firms? I am looking at the right place (ICAEW Website) or there are more places I can look to find ACA training contract?
    Thanks once again
    Usually the smaller firms will have a person of contact.

    So if you see ABC Ltd looking for an audit junior on and offering full study support (ACA), in your position, I'd ring up and say you're interested in applying.

    And ask for a personal email address to send your CV/Cover Letter to.

    Maybe trying to ring and speak to someone is a bit much, but you'll stand a better chance emailing someone personally than applying through the generic ICAEW website (i.e. filling in their response form). You're likely to be overlooked against graduates charting a more 'usual' route, i.e. direct out of uni. - but don't let that bother you.

    Emailing a real person would make a big difference imo rather than an inbox which every Tom, **** and Harry has access to.
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    (Original post by accno1)
    Usually the smaller firms will have a person of contact.

    So if you see ABC Ltd looking for an audit junior on and offering full study support (ACA), in your position, I'd ring up and say you're interested in applying.

    And ask for a personal email address to send your CV/Cover Letter to.

    Maybe trying to ring and speak to someone is a bit much, but you'll stand a better chance emailing someone personally than applying through the generic ICAEW website (i.e. filling in their response form). You're likely to be overlooked against graduates charting a more 'usual' route, i.e. direct out of uni. - but don't let that bother you.

    Emailing a real person would make a big difference imo rather than an inbox which every Tom, **** and Harry has access to.
    I just noticed most of these jobs on ICAEW don't have a contact name which makes this whole thing more complicated again
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    (Original post by clarkenuttal)
    I just noticed most of these jobs on ICAEW don't have a contact name which makes this whole thing more complicated again
    I can't really add much of value to what has already been said, apart from a bit of encouragement - if it is really what you want to do, and the drop in salary is not an impediment, go for it!

    I am in a similar position, being a "mature" school leaver. By this I mean I actually left education about 6 years ago but I still managed to secure a position with a Big 4 firm. If you cannot locate personal contacts for the firms, I would just recommend applying to the training posts like everyone else does - your age and the fact you have been working for a while should not matter, but they will still look at how you are suited for the company / role of course so it is not a guaranteed interview / position.
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    (Original post by crazycoconut)
    I can't really add much of value to what has already been said, apart from a bit of encouragement - if it is really what you want to do, and the drop in salary is not an impediment, go for it!

    I am in a similar position, being a "mature" school leaver. By this I mean I actually left education about 6 years ago but I still managed to secure a position with a Big 4 firm. If you cannot locate personal contacts for the firms, I would just recommend applying to the training posts like everyone else does - your age and the fact you have been working for a while should not matter, but they will still look at how you are suited for the company / role of course so it is not a guaranteed interview / position.
    Congratulations on securing a training contract with Big 4.
    Can you please tell me how did you look for and applied for jobs when you were looking? Was it just on ICAEW website or there are more avenues? How did you justify your 6 year gap? What was the response like from CVs you sent as in how often any employer contacted you?
    I know it's a quite a few questions but they are all relevant at my stage
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    (Original post by clarkenuttal)
    I just noticed most of these jobs on ICAEW don't have a contact name which makes this whole thing more complicated again
    Does it say the name of the firms on the job postings on this website? If it does, you can look up the company, find general contact details on the website and ask 'who is in charge of recruitment for x position and could you possibly have their email address'.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    Does it say the name of the firms on the job postings on this website? If it does, you can look up the company, find general contact details on the website and ask 'who is in charge of recruitment for x position and could you possibly have their email address'.
    Sounds good I'll try doing it this way lets see how this goes. Thanks for the advice though
 
 
 
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