How we support working and education ‘on the job’.

How we support working and education ‘on the job’. Purple Lime

April is the month of Spring where there is new growth all around us. Every business needs new growth, particularly right now. One of the ways to achieving long term growth is to support new talent in your team – through both recruitment and development of individuals.

Attending college or university isn’t the educational path for everyone.  There is a perception among many young people that they will be ‘saddled with debt’.

Being able to join a company, perhaps as an apprentice, or in a junior role can provide more immediate access to work and an income, which many young people prefer. We embrace this at Purple Lime.

We are pleased to be part of an initiative Work Wiltshire, which enables employers to support the employability of young people and the future workforce.  This in turn supports talented pupils from Wiltshire schools, giving them the opportunity to join businesses as apprentices.

We have also pledged to have a work experience placement in the future, having had two students previously.

Practical support for our team members:

At the present time, two members of our team are studying alongside their working day. They are mentored by fellow accountant Edd Stone, who offers advice and support as well as looking for opportunities for both to take on new work within the business to further their learning.

Taking very different routes to their learning, Tom is taking part in a case study for Work Wiltshire and Charlotte is studying in her own time.  Both have eight days’ study leave per year, in addition to their annual leave.

Charlotte, who is studying through the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, is self-studying to become a Chartered Global Management Accountant.  She decided an apprenticeship is not the most appropriate system for her, as she wants to complete the course faster than the minimum time.

Tom’s exams are with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and require months of tuition for each exam which are only held a few times a year. Therefore he is forced to spread his tuition over a few years. In his case the government apprentice funding has been excellent for him.


What is it like to study and work?

*What is the time commitment?

Charlotte spends most of her spare time when not working, studying. This is usually a couple of hours in the evenings and at weekends, and when she has a free weekend, she puts in a few extra hours.  Self-studying, Charlotte primarily uses textbooks and question kits to prepare for exams.

Tom finds the apprenticeship route beneficial because it provides him with structure and direction in his study, and he has opted for the distance-learning package.

He receives materials in the post, as well as having access to an online portal for video lectures and resources. This works well for Tom, because he can tailor when he studies, to suit his working and personal life.

His usual studying routine is to arrive at the office for 7 am and studies for an hour before starting work. He studies for a further hour when he gets home, and also at the weekends. As he gets closer to exams he ramps up the total daily and weekly studying time.

What are the coping strategies to consider?

Charlotte has a very supportive boyfriend who cooks dinner, keeps the house in a reasonable state, and helps where he can to give her time to study.  She also has a small study where she can hide herself away.

If Charlotte sits down to study and it’s not happening for whatever reason, she stops and leaves it until the next day. Otherwise she ends up getting stressed and wasting time.

On the flip side of that, if things are going well and she gets into it, she doesn’t stop!

Tom doesn’t find it so easy to stay driven, he focusses on the goal he is looking to achieve.  He knows there will be another two years’ of hard work and sacrifice now, however that will lead to 40 odd years of benefit in his career later down the line.

Tom has stopped playing hockey to focus on his studies, which was a huge decision because he has been playing religiously for over 15 years.

He sets targets to hit throughout the week ie. reach a certain point in the chapter or complete a certain amount of questions.  This keeps his sanity and feels like he is continuing to progress and move forward.

He also has a very supportive partner to help him achieve those goals.

Both Charlotte and Tom recognise the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance.

Tom makes sure he still gets to Crossfit box at least 4 -5 times a week which keeps him mentally and physically healthy. Charlotte enjoys walking her Dog every day.

Why is this kind of development important?

Both Charlotte and Tom recognise the importance of developing their knowledge and understanding of the industry they work in; and the significance of gaining formal qualifications, not only for their own sense of achievement, but also for their career development and income.

For both Charlotte and Tom the rewards of this development are massive; by finishing their qualifications they will progress further in their roles at Purple Lime and play an essential part in the business as it continues to grow.

What are the outcomes for the business?

*We develop strong team members who know how to do their job and have the qualifications to prove it.

*We engender loyalty within the team so that they stay with us longer.

*Sales – already both Tom and Charlotte have brought in new business due to their excellent attention to detail and their strong belief in good customer service.