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Kent Businesswoman supports National Apprenticeship Week to offer route to Skilled Employment

An award-winning businesswoman from Folkestone is supporting the efforts of NAW2022, National Apprenticeship Week which brings together MPs, ambassadors, apprentices, training providers and employers from across the country.

The National Apprenticeship Week 2022 (7th –13th February) provides the opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and the laudable work that is being done by businesses on behalf of young people.

Sam Dunlop (33), the founder of Prestigious Financial Services, who believes passionately that businesses can make a difference whilst making a profit, wants to share her own success story to encourage other businesses, however small, to take on an apprentice.

Sam took on Lilly Lebeau ​(​17​)​ in 2021​ when she was just 16. Lilly did some administration and clerical work ​before embarking on the Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship programme delivered by specialist training provider MBKB.​​

Lilly explains: “After taking Dance, BTEC Sport and Business GCSEs at secondary school, I went on to study Law, Business and Sociology at sixth form. However, I didn’t enjoy it and I dropped out.

“I really wanted to get into accountancy so when the opportunity to take on a ​​payroll apprenticeship with​ training provider ​​​MBKB​ ​at Prestigious Finance, I jumped at it.”

Lilly works 5 days a week with Sam in the office. However, one of these days is a college day conducted over Zoom with MBKB. She has webinars and coursework which is uploaded online.

Sam continues: “On the other 4 days, it is my turn to teach Lilly. She shadows me on certain tasks and joins me at meetings.  She has catch ups with the college and I also attend Zoom calls with the college to check in on her progression. When her course is finished, she will be a qualified payroll assistant.

Lilly adds: “I am just over half way through my course and I am really enjoying it.I am lucky to be in a great working environment each day. I have really matured as my course has progressed, my confidence has soared, and the work has already begun to prepare me for later life.”

Sam explained: “One third of 18–24-year-old employees have lost jobs in the last two years while others are struggling to find employment. It is more important than ever that apprenticeship schemes exist to offer young people a bona fide route to skilled employment in a range of well-thought-of professions like accountancy and business.

“I hope my example will encourage more business owners to play a part in supporting the career prospects of the next generation,” she added.

Those interested in the Prestigious Financial Services apprenticeship schemes should go to apply. A short introduction to the course will establish aptitude and interest amongst the candidates.

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