Full time Carer Into AAT

circa2013circa2013 New MemberPosts: 8Registered
Hey everyone this is my first post! I'm currently a full time carer for an elderly parent in South Devon and studying for my AAT, I have just started Level 3 and started to think about what my next move would be after I finish.

I finished university in 2010 and have basically needed to care full time as my relatives health has deteriorated, however with this being the case I have been unable to undertake any work since which has obviously put a gap in my CV with regards to appropriate employment history.

I was wondering if there was either anyone with a similar situation who might be able to advise me on this or perhaps anyone who would be able to point me in the right direction with where to begin.

I am looking at it as though I have two years before which my AAT is complete, so hopefully have left enough time in hand to get right into a relevant job upon completion of my studies.

Thank you!

Comments

  • MariaLMariaL New Member Posts: 14Registered
    Experience

    Where about's in South Devon are you? Do you have a couple of hours free a week to gain a little bit of experience either volunteering or on work experience? If you can show when you have completed your level 4 that you have been able to do a little bit of experience alongside everything else you have going on in your life and studying then this would look very good to a prospective employer
  • Morpheus1980Morpheus1980 Well-Known Posts: 120Registered
    Hi circa2013. Firstly, I admire you in that you have managed to combine caring full time with studying for the AAT - I'm sure it couldn't have been easy.

    You probably know this already but in order to gain the AAT qualification, you will need to have logged a year's worth of relevant experience. It's not clear from your post whether you have previous accounting experience that you can log towards this. If not, MariaL is right in that volunteering would be a great and rewarding way to gain this experience. I wish you lots of luck with level 3 - how are you finding it?
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    MariaL wrote: »
    Where about's in South Devon are you? Do you have a couple of hours free a week to gain a little bit of experience either volunteering or on work experience? If you can show when you have completed your level 4 that you have been able to do a little bit of experience alongside everything else you have going on in your life and studying then this would look very good to a prospective employer

    I'm in the Paignton area. I do have some free hours, just needs to be carefully managed around caring commitments but it shouldn't be an issue. I suppose I was wondering if work experience stacks up agagainst previous work within the sector for say, a few years?
    Hi circa2013. Firstly, I admire you in that you have managed to combine caring full time with studying for the AAT - I'm sure it couldn't have been easy.

    You probably know this already but in order to gain the AAT qualification, you will need to have logged a year's worth of relevant experience. It's not clear from your post whether you have previous accounting experience that you can log towards this. If not, MariaL is right in that volunteering would be a great and rewarding way to gain this experience. I wish you lots of luck with level 3 - how are you finding it?

    It's been challenging but nothing I can't handle!

    Sadly I have no previous accounting experience as all my jobs were either as a retail or shop assistant or more recently freelance media work/ website maintenance.

    I'm taking to it quite well! thus far at least, The main issue is getting my head around double entry but that's really the only part I seem to trip up on, admittedly it's early days yet though so I have plenty of time to try and source some extensive revision materials on this area haha.

    I was also considering doing a Sage Payroll Certificate course which runs later this year for about 3 weeks, hopefully that should bolster my CV a little within a more relevant area!

    Thank you for your replies so far :)
  • VleeVlee Well-Known Posts: 136Registered
    Hello

    I'm in kind of a similar position. I am almost finished level 2 study (no exams) and about to start looking at level 3. I have two young children and limited relevant experience. I am hoping to start volunteering in tressury roles soon - been offered one so far and this will fit around my caring commitments. This is a local parenting charity but I also have a potential opportunity at our church. I hope employers will see that a break to care for a relative (or children) is not an issue when they see that you've been dedicated and motivated to get both qualifications and relevant work experience alongside those commitments. I think contacting local companies to get work experience would be beneficial too, if you can get the time. It's gets experience and valuable contacts.

    I have found level 2 easy but agree double entry took a bit more effort to get into my head. Level 3 is meant to build on level 2 learning so maybe going through BA1 & 2 would help, although it's slow going as it's very detailed. I'm trying to revise it now and wish I had a condensed version with just the trickier bits.

    Good luck!
  • MariaLMariaL New Member Posts: 14Registered
    I live in Plymouth but work in Heathfield Industrial Estate. Which way are you looking at going into accounts, practice based or industry? When I recruit for my team I not only looked for someone with the AAT qualifications or part qualifications but also with a little bit of experience even if its only 6 months. Someone studying showed commitment to me but a little experience shows they can put it into practice. If you can do a couple of hours volunteering I think it would do wonders for your CV and show prospective employers that you have commitment, drive and your a multi-tasker, which I know is very important in my busy department. www.do-it.org.uk is a good volunteering website.
    I also struggled with double entry at first as I have always relied on sage as a credit controller which does all the double entry for you.
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    Vlee wrote: »
    Hello

    I am hoping to start volunteering in tressury roles soon - been offered one so far and this will fit around my caring commitments. This is a local parenting charity but I also have a potential opportunity at our church. I hope employers will see that a break to care for a relative (or children) is not an issue when they see that you've been dedicated and motivated to get both qualifications and relevant work experience alongside those commitments. I think contacting local companies to get work experience would be beneficial too, if you can get the time. It's gets experience and valuable contacts.

    I have found level 2 easy but agree double entry took a bit more effort to get into my head. Level 3 is meant to build on level 2 learning so maybe going through BA1 & 2 would help, although it's slow going as it's very detailed. I'm trying to revise it now and wish I had a condensed version with just the trickier bits.

    Good luck!

    And you! Let me know if you have any luck finding work experience and then work! :)

    Level 2 is quite simple I agree, so far Level 3 is quite pleasantly surprising in terms of how difficult it is which I am happy about, fingers crossed it stays like this throughout haha.
    I live in Plymouth but work in Heathfield Industrial Estate. Which way are you looking at going into accounts, practice based or industry? When I recruit for my team I not only looked for someone with the AAT qualifications or part qualifications but also with a little bit of experience even if its only 6 months. Someone studying showed commitment to me but a little experience shows they can put it into practice. If you can do a couple of hours volunteering I think it would do wonders for your CV and show prospective employers that you have commitment, drive and your a multi-tasker, which I know is very important in my busy department. www.do-it.org.uk is a good volunteering website.
    I also struggled with double entry at first as I have always relied on sage as a credit controller which does all the double entry for you.

    I'm not sure about industry or practice, to be honest I'm not really sure of the differences in the day to day workings of either so I suppose I will wait and see what I fall into or wait until I know more about their roles!

    Thank you for that website link, that's really helpful. I was wondering though, is there any way to specify what sort of volunteering I do? I'm just unsure if any voluntary work stacks up against more relevant voluntary work like User Vlee mentioned about volunteering in treasury roles or book keeping. Do you think I could just do any sort of volunteering for example Samaritans work?

    Thank you everyone for your advice so far this is a big help. :)
  • NpsNps Experienced Mentor Posts: 782Registered
    Circa,

    If you put your postcode in and then go to the next page, the website then allows you to filter the opportunities down to just Finance and Accountancy. Be prepared for a lot of knock backs though, some organisations advertise positions with very unrealistic expectations. I've applied for lots of treasurer roles and then they contact me to confirm I have 20 years experience/am a qualified financial advisor etc etc all for basic bookkeeping for a small charity (despite me being very clear about my qualifications/experience etc). I've even had one sarcastically accuse me of being on benefits and only applying for the role because the job centre made me:huh: (just because I dared query an ambiguous bit of their advert where it wasn't clear if they wanted someone for 4 hours every single morning, or just 4 hours in total over those days - a reasonable question I thought).

    I even applied for 2 separate treasurer roles for 2 different areas of a very well known national charity only to be told that the positions had never actually existed but would I be interested in rattling collection tins in shopping centres for them (err no thanks).

    However, I did find my current volunteer role through the website (another well known national charity, with a brilliant support network via their national head office finance team of qualified accountants), but it did seem like a hard slog to get there!
  • VleeVlee Well-Known Posts: 136Registered
    I got my current volunteering opportunity by emailing the contact on the website for the local branch. Within a week I've been given a job to do, not treasury just yet but finance related.

    The other potential is church and I will pitch it as helping the current treasurer so I can get experience, which is true. My husband was offered the role and I wasn't strangely but I wasn't in the position to offer then, both too busy with very teeny children at the time.

    So I guess the conclusion could be that going through the official routes can be tough but randomly emailing or talking to people can help. Even doing something like helping to run a youth group will have some finance responsibilities and you could then get more involved higher up - like scouts and guides.

    As for work I'm far from ready to even talk about work experience placements. My children are too young and childcare too expensive. But I plan to talk to friends and family first. Even my husband may be able to set up a work placement in his department. Then I will be hitting th the yellow pages to ask local companies and maybe recruitment. I also saw advice on aiming for slightly more admin jobs with finance elements.
  • MariaLMariaL New Member Posts: 14Registered
    I think that although the AAT caters for both practice and industry based roles the two can be very different in terms of day to day duties. There are so many different roles that you can progress into and I think any experience will look good even if you go down another route. You just need to explain in interview how you can apply the skills from that experience into the role your going for. I have always been industry based and would never switch as I love the variety in my roles. But I am sure there are plenty of people that are practise based that would say the same of their roles.
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    Nps1976 wrote: »
    Circa,

    If you put your postcode in and then go to the next page, the website then allows you to filter the opportunities down to just Finance and Accountancy. Be prepared for a lot of knock backs though, some organisations advertise positions with very unrealistic expectations. I've applied for lots of treasurer roles and then they contact me to confirm I have 20 years experience/am a qualified financial advisor etc etc all for basic bookkeeping for a small charity (despite me being very clear about my qualifications/experience etc). I've even had one sarcastically accuse me of being on benefits and only applying for the role because the job centre made me:huh: (just because I dared query an ambiguous bit of their advert where it wasn't clear if they wanted someone for 4 hours every single morning, or just 4 hours in total over those days - a reasonable question I thought).

    I even applied for 2 separate treasurer roles for 2 different areas of a very well known national charity only to be told that the positions had never actually existed but would I be interested in rattling collection tins in shopping centres for them (err no thanks).

    However, I did find my current volunteer role through the website (another well known national charity, with a brilliant support network via their national head office finance team of qualified accountants), but it did seem like a hard slog to get there!

    Sounds as though they're not too grateful for someone offering to do charity work! Surprised that they would be so rude to you!

    Well done on finally finding something though, and thank you for pointing out the website, it seems so simple looking back I don't know how I missed it lol.
    Vlee wrote: »
    I got my current volunteering opportunity by emailing the contact on the website for the local branch. Within a week I've been given a job to do, not treasury just yet but finance related.

    The other potential is church and I will pitch it as helping the current treasurer so I can get experience, which is true. My husband was offered the role and I wasn't strangely but I wasn't in the position to offer then, both too busy with very teeny children at the time.

    So I guess the conclusion could be that going through the official routes can be tough but randomly emailing or talking to people can help. Even doing something like helping to run a youth group will have some finance responsibilities and you could then get more involved higher up - like scouts and guides.

    As for work I'm far from ready to even talk about work experience placements. My children are too young and childcare too expensive. But I plan to talk to friends and family first. Even my husband may be able to set up a work placement in his department. Then I will be hitting th the yellow pages to ask local companies and maybe recruitment. I also saw advice on aiming for slightly more admin jobs with finance elements.

    I think I will just do this, keep bombarding everyone with requests to do some volunteer work and eventually I must be taken on surely! I keep worrying that I will get there and forget my AAT training and just do the job wrong, I guess that's just a workplace confidence issue which I have from never working within Accounting before!
    MariaL wrote: »
    I think that although the AAT caters for both practice and industry based roles the two can be very different in terms of day to day duties. There are so many different roles that you can progress into and I think any experience will look good even if you go down another route. You just need to explain in interview how you can apply the skills from that experience into the role your going for. I have always been industry based and would never switch as I love the variety in my roles. But I am sure there are plenty of people that are practise based that would say the same of their roles.

    What would you suggest the pros and cons were in your personal experience on why you prefer industry? I hope one day to have my own preference but I suppose that will come with experience!
  • MariaLMariaL New Member Posts: 14Registered
    Although its a super busy role i am in at the moment, I love the variety of the duties I can do and the way I have been able to try so many roles in the companies I have worked for
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    Also one thing I'm really unsure of is if I am capable of being a treasurer for a club or charity? Can anyone give me any advice as to whether I know enough to do this role? I have completed Level 2 AAT, presumably the skills I learnt doing this is enough to do it?

    I'm in the process of writing a speculative letter and just updating my CV before sending it out all over the bay!
  • VleeVlee Well-Known Posts: 136Registered
    I'm hoping to work with people who already know what they are doing and can teach me, but even helping out at brownies or scouts for example involves some minor accounting which could be recorded using L2 learning. I guess it depends how big and complex the organisation is and whether they can give support initially. Every organisation will have different processes and maybe there would be the chance to improve them too.

    Good luck!
  • lumoslumos Just Joined Posts: 1Registered
    I'm also a full time carer for a family member and studying AAT. I have just completed aat level 2 at college but due to it being difficult to manage my committments i'm doing level 3 from home and just sitting the exams at college. My plan is to get as many qualifications as I can (doing ICB aswell) and then do some work from home, more bookkeeping than accounting.
    I was also worried about the lack of a CV as I finished my A-Levels and became a carer straight away so haven't worked. I contacted my local accountants and did a few days work experience there which was brilliant and looks great on my CV. (they did offer me a job and train me but i couldn't due to committments!)

    Hope everything goes well for you, an email to your local accountants is probably worth a shot. I never thought it would get me anything but they were brilliant.
    Rosie

    Edit: Just noticed what you said about work confidence. I had exactly the same problem, I knew that i new all the ttheory when it comes to textbooks and exams but was absolutely petrified I wouldn't be able to do it in practise. Took some guts doing those few days work experience but proved me I do know what i'm doing!
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    lumos wrote: »
    I'm also a full time carer for a family member and studying AAT. I have just completed aat level 2 at college but due to it being difficult to manage my committments i'm doing level 3 from home and just sitting the exams at college. My plan is to get as many qualifications as I can (doing ICB aswell) and then do some work from home, more bookkeeping than accounting.
    I was also worried about the lack of a CV as I finished my A-Levels and became a carer straight away so haven't worked. I contacted my local accountants and did a few days work experience there which was brilliant and looks great on my CV. (they did offer me a job and train me but i couldn't due to committments!)

    Hope everything goes well for you, an email to your local accountants is probably worth a shot. I never thought it would get me anything but they were brilliant.
    Rosie

    Edit: Just noticed what you said about work confidence. I had exactly the same problem, I knew that i new all the ttheory when it comes to textbooks and exams but was absolutely petrified I wouldn't be able to do it in practise. Took some guts doing those few days work experience but proved me I do know what i'm doing!

    It's nice to know that I'm not the only one in this situation! Well done for getting some work experience! :)

    At the moment I'm writing speculative letters, I keep hearing conflicting suggestions from tutors etc. about what a good speculative letter should include so there is one paragraph or so which I need to finish, then I need to figure out how best to put my key skills onto a CV where it doesn't look scruffy!

    Did you send out similar letters when looking for work experience or did you perhaps phone around?

    Thank you everyone for your replies I really appreciate it!
  • circa2013circa2013 New Member Posts: 8Registered
    Just as an update I am currently in the process of obtaining a position with the Scout Council in my district as an Assistant District Treasurer! I am really pleased, they're just chasing up my last reference which is proving to be quite difficult so with any luck everything should go through in the next few weeks!

    Thank you for everyone and your good advice. Hopefully this leads on to bigger and better things!
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