Live: Q&A with EY apprentice Zara Hussain

Zara Hussain joined EY in September 2019 as an associate on the level 6 Chartered manger degree apprenticeship business leader and management programme. She discusses her journey with the firm so far

Tell us about your role?

I’m in my second year of a degree apprenticeship, meaning I’m studying for a qualification while also earning a salary and working on real life client projects. I work in the Consulting Service Delivery (CSD) team across a range of different areas such as Anti-Money Laundering, Suitability of Financial Advice and Cyber Security. I study one day a week on my degree in Business Leadership and Management at Northumbria University and I am studying towards a professional qualification from the Chartered Management Institution.

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

From a young age, I’ve always been interested in finance. I decided to go for an apprenticeship because I wanted to start my career and enter the working world as soon as possible. I felt that an apprenticeship would be a win-win situation – gaining experience alongside my degree. It’s been great for my own personal development and growth and is building my understanding of the financial sector too.

Why did you choose to work at EY?

I liked that EY supported and invested in their employees. Productivity and hard work is encouraged, but they also really value and prioritise the wellbeing of their people. Learning and development is also really encouraged, which means there are lots of career opportunities and you can keep progressing.

What has it been like working virtually? How do your team/manager ensure you are supported?

Working virtually hasn’t been without its challenges as I am someone who enjoys the office environment and interacting with team members in person, face to face.

However, EY has been very understanding and are constantly adapting to different methods to ensure our wellbeing is a priority. I have an amazing team and manager who are always there to provide support and answer my questions.

We’ve also been assigned buddies and mentors from the year above to help too. Plus, we’ve had plenty of online team activities and quizzes, which has meant I’ve made good friends despite working virtually.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship scheme to other school leavers?

It is the best thing to have happened to me and I am grateful for the opportunity. Learning on the job is an invaluable experience as it builds your knowledge which you can apply to your practical tasks. I’d definitely recommend it to others.

Do you have any advice for someone who is unsure whether to apply?

My advice to anyone who is hesitant would be to simply be go for it! Do your research into the organisation and find out as much as you can to see if it would be a good fit for you.