How accountancy gave new starts to two career switchers

The coronavirus pandemic is causing an increasing number of people to consider a career in accountancy to achieve financial stability.

Here are two stories from people who have successfully made a career switch.

I had a feeling I was going to be made redundant – and now I’ve found a new role in accountancy”

Dan Purnell, former recruitment consultant

When 28-year-old Dan Purnell was furloughed from his recruitment consultant role due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he felt that he quickly needed to improve his skillset.

“I had a feeling that I was going to be made redundant – which was confirmed in July,” Dan explains. “My role was specialising in recruitment for engineering and aviation, two sectors which have been hit especially hard by Covid-19.”

Dan, from Fareham, Hampshire, put his furlough time to good use. He started the foundation level of AAT’s (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting qualifications back in June, in the hope of finding a role in the finance sector.

And he has made quick progress.

“I thought it would be beneficial to use the furlough period to study for a new qualification. I’ve gone on to pass the first two units already and have secured a new job at a small accountancy practice which I’m due to start later this month,” Dan says.

“I’ve really enjoyed studying, often getting up early whilst my 8-month-old son Phoenix is still asleep. Meaning once I’ve done my studying, I get to spend the day with him.”

“While studying during lockdown was a struggle, the flexibility of being able to study AAT at home while looking after a young family was a huge benefit to me.”

And Dan’s new employer, Inn to Profit Limited, has been supportive of his studies before he has even taken up his role as an assistant accountant, helping him fund his next qualification.

 “I feel like accountancy has given me a second chance”

Gareth Jones, automotive worker

Gareth Jones, 53 from Bristol, has worked on a production line for Ford Motor Company for nearly 20 years, assisting in the manufacturing of car engines.

But the Bridgend plant where Gareth works is being closed at the end of September. As a result, Gareth is losing his job.

“After being told I was to be made redundant, I decided on a whole new change of career,” Gareth says. “I could have taken an easy route and trudged around looking for the same, uninspiring factory work. Instead, I chose accountancy.”

 
Gareth started studying at home for AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) accounting qualifications in March, with Ford paying for his accountancy training as part of Gareth’s redundancy package.

He has averaged about 95% in the assessments he has sat so far, with further assessments taking place this month.

 
“I’m taking six months out when my redundancy kicks in, in order to study full-time to gain the full professional accounting qualification,” Gareth adds.

“Hopefully, despite my age, I’ll be able to secure a job and start a brand new career in accountancy. It’s quite rare to have such a sharp turn in your career path at 53, but circumstances have intervened, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

“I feel like accountancy has given me a second chance.”

Further reading:

Adam Harwood is AAT's Media Relations Manager.

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