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3M Finance Apprenticeship – The Journey and the Success

Monday 22 May, 2017

In 2014 we worked closely with 3M, the science-based technology company, to set up and provide them with an apprenticeship programme. Amongst the opportunities offered were five Finance Apprentice vacancies. This story starts when five young people, who were unknown to each other, were brought together to complete a Level 3 AAT apprenticeship. Through their hard work and dedication, along with support from their Line Managers at 3M, Jay their SEAC Account Manager and Jo the tutor from First Intuition (our delivery partner), they all successfully achieved their Level 3 qualification, providing them with the opportunity to progress to the Level 4 AAT (Higher Apprenticeship) with 3M, which they have also all gone on to complete successfully.  

This journey has not only allowed these five young people to commence on their career path, gather valuable experience and achieve nationally recognised qualifications, but also established the group as friends.  Here’s what our Apprentices have to say about their inspirational success stories:

Mark Taylor – Finance Apprentice

“The apprenticeship has been an incredible journey, from the initial interview to finishing the final assessment, I have been spurred on to flourish by my tutors, my peers and employers. Whilst completing my studies, I have been thrown into real life scenarios which has engrained what I have learnt in the classroom - and I cannot think of a better way of learning.

My study achievements have been celebrated by my work colleagues, and my work achievements have been celebrated by my tutors, with my fellow apprentices supporting me throughout the process - all people who I had not met prior to my apprenticeship journey!

In essence, I have come away from the two years with professional qualifications and industry experience, which looks great on my CV, as well as friends for life.”

Molly Hill – Finance Apprentice

“Through my apprenticeship scheme I have gained new skills and experiences as well as lifelong friends. Although I had a few struggles at the start of the apprentice with my exams, SEAC and 3M supported me through this which enabled me to complete both level 3 and level 4 AAT. I hope to build on my skills and put my training into practise at my time with 3M, which will eventually allow me to study further onto ACCA.”

Freddie Newman – Finance Apprentice

“Leaving my university degree in favour of pursuing a finance apprenticeship has proven to be an eye opening and rewarding decision which I haven’t regretted. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anybody looking at alternatives to a degree. My two-year programme has provided me with a level 4 AAT accounting qualification, as well as experience in a variety of finance roles at an established and well-known company in 3M; but, most importantly, it has been a very enjoyable experience and I’ve been introduced to some great people along the way!

The support we received was a tremendous help, not least from the four finance apprentices in the same position as me – working alongside each other both at work and through our qualifications was a definite bonus and made the experience much more enjoyable. 

My 3M supervisors and colleagues were excellent guides – ensuring I received proper training, and always being more than willing to answer any questions I might have.

Our tutors were great – always being at hand to help if we had any issues with the content, going the extra mile to make sure we passed our exams without issue and even giving us a personal phone number to contact them by for any urgent issues. Jay, our SEAC manager, would give us monthly phone calls and face-to -ace meetings to catch up and make sure we were staying on track, and was always ready to help us with any problems regarding the apprenticeship.

I’ve since completed my level 4 apprenticeship and have been offered a contractor position in the same department as I had worked previously. I feel that the apprenticeship has put me in a great position to further my career – opening windows and giving me insight into countless academic opportunities, such as chartered accountancy qualifications, as well as numerous other job role opportunities.”

Andrew Kennelly – Finance Apprentice

“My apprenticeship has been a brilliant experience. I have gained over two years of experience working for a great company and a highly respected qualification in finance, as well. In this time, I have developed skills that are invaluable to my career and built up relationships with my colleagues and other apprentices. Becoming an apprentice was the perfect way for me to get into a career that suits me, and has given me a fantastic insight into the professional world, with support and guidance always there if I needed it.”

Amy Austin-Hannaford – Finance Apprentice

“I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship at 3M and have always had excellent support from my manager here, First Intuition and SEAC, especially when faced with difficulty. I have become very good friends with many apprentices at 3M, which has massively helped me enjoy my time as an apprentice. Achieving AAT Level 3 and 4 will enable me to continue my career into accountancy and give me the platform I need to study further to become fully qualified. I have also picked up many new skills from 3M as I have had the chance to work in two departments, allowing me to see different sides to accountancy and gain confidence.”


An apprenticeship is a great choice and a real alternative to going to college or university. If you like the idea of combining working with on-the-job learning and practical training, with the bonus of earning a wage and gaining real work experience, then this could be the best route for you. Don’t think that an apprenticeship is the easy option; you will be required to remain focused and commit time to both your employer and achieving your qualification. We hope that this story about genuine apprentices helps motivate anyone unsure if an apprenticeship is right for them…..