Apprentice Amaya already has plans to have her own property portfolio

Amaya Reid

Amaya Reid is a 20-year-old with a difference. The apprentice accountant has already got ambitions to start her own property portfolio.

Amaya , who works for Bristol firm Haines Watts, chose to go straight into professional life rather than taking the conventional and popular route through university.

Once Covid hit Amaya had a rethink, choosing to start studying law, accounting and politics at St Brendan’s College instead of taking the traditional university route.

Now she is one of the early beneficiaries of a new partnership between the college and Haines Watts, which is expected to see three or four new apprentices joining the firm each year.

She said: “I certainly don’t regret burdening myself with three years of student debt. And I’ve grown quite close to the other apprentices who joined Haines Watts at the same time as me.

“We go out together, there’s plenty to do in Bristol and the social life at the office is quite good, too.”

“Not having a massive student debt hanging over me is leaving me free to get on with what I want to do,

“I’m hoping to have bought somewhere to live within the next two years – probably a flat, which I’ll live in for a couple of years then save up another deposit, buy another house and rent out the flat for some extra income.

“That’s the plan anyway – we’ll see how it goes. But I think if you want anything in life and are prepared to work for it, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

Currently Amaya is living in Hanham with her parents. Indeed it was partly due to her father owning a building company that led her down the route of apprentice accountancy.

“My dad can’t stand doing the admin or the books,” she says. “So I helped him out a bit, which was when I realised it might be a career for me. And I’ve also experienced first-hand the need that small business owners have in terms of outsourcing business functions.

“That’s something I’m really interested in, getting out to meet clients and talking about the challenges they have, the plans they have for business growth and discussing how expert advice can help. I’ve been out to visit a timber business client already, alongside one of my senior colleagues, and it was a really good experience.”

With almost a year’s experience of bookkeeping and admin under her belt, Amaya is set to start a new role in the accounts department of the company in mid-February.

“I feel like I’m appreciated here,” she says, “and I realise that if I work hard then I can work my way up the ladder. To other people who are at school or college, I’d say that I know apprenticeships have a stigma and that there’s a narrative which suggests that everyone should go to uni.

“But I think people should see what a great opportunity an apprenticeship is, to get on in professional life quickly and get rewarded with good pay and responsibility from an early age. If you know what you want to do with your career, you should seriously consider it.”

Matthew Bracher, managing director at Haines Watts Bristol, said there were many benefits to taking on young accountants who have decided to pursue careers rather than going to university.

“Firstly, anyone who takes on a career at the age of 18 and recognises the long-term advantages of avoiding significant debt is demonstrating a maturity and shrewdness which reflects well on their personality,” he said. “Those are the type of people we are looking to offer opportunities to, as they see the world in a pragmatic way.

“In addition, we are interested in being able to train young talent in the values and practices we expect at Haines Watts – it is rewarding to see them develop into people who can really advise and help other people. Having a degree doesn’t always give those personal skills that we look for.

“We have an established trainee programme here, as well as manager and partner level development programmes, which works well for us as a business and is a key part of facilitating growth in the SME market, as well as supporting our longer-term ambitions.

“We’re delighted to see our apprentices like Amaya progressing and developing. It’s great for our business and for our clients alike.”