As an apprentice, you can work full-time in accounting and finance and study to qualify for the Chartered Global Management Accountant® (CGMA®) designation without first completing university.
TikTok content creator and apprentice ambassador Haider Ali, CGMA, shared how his accounting career benefited from CIMA’s Apprenticeships.
Choosing an apprenticeship
I chose to do an apprenticeship than go to university to receive real-world experience and on-the-job training rather than lectures. Whilst still in secondary school, I knew I wanted to work in accounting, but I didn’t know which accounting qualification to get since many were available.
Before choosing CIMA® as my apprenticeship pathway, I felt pressured to go to university instead of getting an apprenticeship. Secondary school students are frequently told that passing examinations is the key to success, but many don’t understand that learning isn’t only about theories. I realised on-the-job learning would be best for me.
University is simply a stepping stone before getting practical experience. On the other hand, an apprenticeship finds the middle ground between work and study. I decided to get the best of both worlds through CIMA’s Apprenticeship instead of going to university. I also learned more general business skills quickly, like how to network.
I became a qualified CGMA designation holder in 2022 after finishing my Level 7 apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce.
The Level 7 Accountancy/Taxation Apprenticeship is the same as getting a master’s degree. Apprentices can start working full-time in finance whilst studying for the CGMA designation.
I learned a lot and even won awards during my apprenticeship, including the BAME Accounting and Finance Apprentice of the Year.
I also realised I could use the skills I learned as an apprentice in many different fields, not just in accounting. So, I left Rolls-Royce in search of new opportunities after finishing my apprenticeship and getting my CGMA designation.
After leaving Rolls-Royce, I began interning at The Unfair Academy, a professional training and coaching firm. During my four months as an intern, I was involved in every part of the business, including writing LinkedIn content, giving keynote speeches and researching different trends.
My new position was very entrepreneurial and completely different from the corporate environment at Rolls-Royce. Working with less structure was a good learning experience, and the internship forced me to think more critically and creatively to solve problems.
The Unfair Academy internship nurtured my personal and professional growth. I gained knowledge of business management from the ground up without having to start a company.
Gaining insight and experience from CIMA’s Apprenticeships
As part of the CIMA Apprenticeship programme, I tried various finance department jobs without the stress of starting a new job each time.
I’m more flexible and open to many job opportunities because of the skills learned during my apprenticeship. Think of all the practical experience you’ll build. You can take that into any industry, any field.
My TikTok channel was a great way to connect with people who have gone through or are in an apprenticeship programme. I casually started my channel to see others were looking for information about apprenticeships.
I have more than 10,000 followers now, and my videos have received millions of views. I’ve received thanks from many viewers for putting out content about apprenticeships.
I’m enjoying some downtime after the last few years devoted to developing my professional skills. I believe people can succeed uniquely without always walking a straight line towards a career.
I like the concept of a squiggly career. Whatever you try, you will always learn something from it. I don’t have an ultimate career goal, but discovering my passion and interests will lead me in the right direction towards shaping my career. My best advice for others is if you’re curious, you can’t go wrong.
Learn how to start your path with an apprenticeship. CIMA’s Apprenticeships are available in England, and you don’t have to be a school leaver to begin.