My Story: 'I am even encouraging my younger brother to do this course'

Shauna McCabe Accounting Technician Apprenticeship

Shauna McCabe: ‘I love that I can immediately and actively put into practice what I’m learning’

Shauna McCabe has found that an "earn and learn" approach to building a career is perfect for her.

Although she did a degree in anthropology and classics, the 23-year-old from Dunsany, Co Meath always liked accountancy.

After university, Shauna worked as a shop manager and also travelled, as far as Beijing, China, where she taught English.

On her return to Ireland, Shauna's cousin alerted her to the accounting technician apprenticeship because "he knew I would be interested".

The Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme in which apprentices are paid at least €18,000 a year.

The programme is open to both school-leavers and mature students.

This is one of the modern era, white-collar apprenticeships offering new career routes to students who prefer an approach that blends paid, practical work with study, leading to qualifications up to degree level, or even above.

Shauna began her apprenticeship with MBM Chartered Accountants, Clonee, Co Meath and loves the mix of working and learning simultaneously.

"It's the best decision I've ever taken," says Shauna.

During college term, she spends one day a week studying and four days working with the firm. She is spending the summer working five days a week.

"The course is fantastic and I love that I can immediately and actively put into practice what I'm learning," says Shauna.

She loves it so much, Shauna is "even encouraging my younger brother, who has finished his Leaving Certificate, to think about the course as a serious option".

When students complete the two-year apprenticeship, they have a strong, in-demand accountancy Level 6 award, solid work experience and the opportunity, if they wish, to progress to further study in accountancy, business or finance.

There are 180 apprenticeships nationwide on offer through the ATI programme.

This year, the programme is running in partnership with Bray Institute of Further Education, Blackrock Further Education Institute, Coláiste Íde College of Further Education, Cork College of Commerce, Monaghan Institute, Galway Technology Institute, Waterford College of Further Education and Rathmines College of Further Education.