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REPRESENTATIVES from an accountancy firm’s training academy put potential apprentices through their paces as they launched a mission to say ‘you’re hired’.

Esther Klijn, an academy graduate from JF Hornby & Co – who recently achieved coveted chartered accountant status – spent time with students at Ulverston Victoria High School.

Managing director Paul Hornby joined her as they spoke to aspiring number crunchers about careers in accountancy.

Esther, who joined the business seven years ago, said: “My colleagues at JF Hornby supported me at every step of my journey to becoming a chartered accountant.”

“Of course, it was not without its bumps on the road, but overall, I’m so pleased I chose the route I did, as an alternative to university.

“Visiting UVHS Sixth Form and speaking to the students brought back some special memories. Taking the plunge and committing to a learning journey that takes up to seven years can be daunting.

“But I can honestly say I have never looked back. I love my job and have developed so much as a person and a professional since joining the business.

The Hornby Academy was unveiled in 2016, as the company pledged to invest in local college leavers looking for an alternative to university.

Esther was one of four aspiring accountants to join the Hornby Academy straight out of college. A further five remain at various stages of their learning, hoping to follow in her footsteps.

JF Hornby & Co – twice named UK accountants of the year – offers full funding for all members of its Academy – meaning they can avoid huge tuition fee bills from university.

Paul said: “We passionately believe in providing opportunities for the young people who live in our community. 

“An increasing number of college students are looking for alternatives to university, because they’re keen to avoid amassing a student debt that can easily top £40k, with no guarantee of a job.

“As long as trainees in our academy give 100 per cent, work hard to learn, develop and complete their assignments and exams, the promise of a job when they graduate is there.

“One of the highlights of my year is visiting UVHS to speak to students; they are brimming with ambition, hope and personality. It is fantastic to see and I feel privileged to be in a position to positively impact the direction of their lives.”

This year, the Hornby Academy has positions for two apprentices to work within the company’s accountancy teams.

If you are interested in applying, email or call 01229 588077 and ask to speak to Esther Klijn.