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There is an air of excitement and anticipation at Riverside Training HQ this week.

One of our students - Sam Hurst - is a finalist for the Apprentice of the Year 2018 title in the Institute of Certified Bookkeeper's (ICB) LUCA Awards, the Oscars of the bookkeeping world.

I, and our Head of Accountancy Apprenticeships Victor Gidney, jointly nominated Sam for the award...and we are delighted he has been selected as a finalist.

Sam set up a subsidiary office of his family-run Accumulus Accounting company 18 months ago. Having a background in retail, and with the new office specialising in the hotel industry, Sam realised the need for formal accountancy training if he was going to be effective in his new role. He signed up for the ICB Assistant Accountant Level 3 Apprenticeship - 'learning while earning' on the Government-backed apprenticeship scheme.

Sam has worked with determination and considerable diligence throughout the year. He has also developed his business beyond all recognition - from being a husband and wife team working from a small serviced office, they now have premises in the heart of Peterborough’s business community, eight members of staff and a very impressive client list.

In fact, some of the guests at the awards will be staying in hotels that are Sam's clients.

Throughout his time with Riverside Training Sam has fully grasped the importance of both the examinations and skills that make up the apprenticeship process.

His average exam score to date is an impressive 95% and he is now highly skilled on Xero, a cloud-based accounting software platform. Sam has also placed five of his staff on apprenticeships.

Sam’s commitment and attitude to training is exemplary and he is a worthy candidate to win the Apprentice of the Year 2018 award.

We've all got our fingers crossed and look forward to the award ceremony, in London, on 26 November when the winners will be announced.

But in the meantime, Sam has another important appointment - speaking at an ICB-hosted roundtable discussion at the WorldSkills UK Show tomorrow, 15 November.

The discussion will focus on the future of the bookkeeping and accountancy profession and joining Sam will be Minister for Apprenticeships Anne Milton MP alongside representatives from the National Apprenticeship Service and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

  • The ICB Apprenticeship Assistant Accountant Level 3 provides a funded route into a bookkeeping career, professional ICB membership, and higher accountancy qualifications. Age is no longer a barrier to becoming an apprentice and there is no time limit to complete the ICB apprenticeship programme. Apprentices have access to study materials, computer-based assessments, and ICB's online network of students. Smaller businesses looking to employ an apprentice can get up to 90% of training costs paid by the Government for new recruits or existing staff, and further funding is available in some instances.