Ballygawley resident and South West College Higher Level Accounting Technician Apprentice, Joanne Harte, achieved an impressive second place on the island of Ireland on her 2022 Level 4 Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Diploma exams.

Following the pandemic, Joanne’s previous role in project administration at Todds Leap had reduced, and Joanne, as a mature student, decided it would be a great time to retrain. Supported by her employer, she moved into a finance role, and on the recommendation of the Company Accountant, embarked on the accounting technicians qualification at the South West College Omagh campus along with one of her other colleagues from Todds Leap.

Joanne's studies began with the ATI Level 4 certificate, progressing onto the Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) ATI Level 5. As a Higher Level apprentice, Joanne balances her studies and work, attending the College one day each week and dedicating the other four to working at Todds Leap in Co. Tyrone, allowing her to work, earn and learn while gaining her accountancy technician accreditation.

Joanne's outstanding exam achievements were recognised at the 2023 ATI Conferring Ceremony in Belfast recently, where she received well-deserved recognition for her hard work. Now, with a few months left until she is a fully qualified accounting technician, Joanne reflects on her inspiring career change.

Joanne said: "I found the flexibility of pursuing the Accounting Technicians Ireland Diploma qualification to be highly appealing, allowing me to fit study around work and childcare. After researching, I selected South West College due to their accommodating approach, as I had not studied since I finished university over 15 years ago and felt very comfortable taking on the course there as a mature student.

The lecturers were always accessible, and the relationship between students was extraordinary, forming a crucial support system. The course itself was fantastic, I found great satisfaction in the work aspect of my course, wherein being present in the office four days a week enabled me to gain a significant amount of knowledge and experience. Additionally, the practical skills I acquired through the study modules were highly relevant to the challenges I encountered in the workplace.

The lecturers were highly knowledgeable and supportive, and the qualification has proved invaluable. It has helped me better understand the financial dealings I encounter daily, increasing my confidence in decision-making.”

Joanne is ‘thrilled’ with her achievements and would strongly urge those interested in accounting to pursue this pathway, recognised as one of the fastest pathways to a fulfilling and rewarding professional accounting career.

She said: “This HLA pathway provided me with unparalleled on-the-job experience and is an educational qualification that makes you highly employable whilst providing a steady income. And the best part is, it is fully funded; there are no student loans, and you get to take home a salary as well as industry standard qualifications."

Joanne’s line manager, Todds Leap Company Accountant, Martin Mallon, commented, “I am delighted with Joanne’s success. I recommend the Accounting Technician course at South West College to my employees as I believe it is a very worthwhile and highly-regarded course, which provides a great all-round foundation for any career in accountancy and a platform to go on to further qualifications in the future.”

Grainne McSorley, Joanne’s tutor at the College, said:

I am overjoyed by Joanne's success on the programme and wish her all the best in her future studies. Pursuing a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy Technician is a significant undertaking, but a highly rewarding one that offers a good foundation and a direct pathway to progress onto courses to become a professional accountant. With the opportunity to work, earn and learn, it is no wonder that more and more individuals are choosing this route over full-time university education.

The accountancy pathway at SWC offers a viable path for individuals who favour hands-on learning over a traditional university setting, particularly for school-leavers or those unsatisfied with their university experience. Likewise, existing employees and mature students seeking to advance in the field of accounting can find immense value in this program. So, if you are ready to begin your journey towards becoming a qualified accounting professional at all levels of finance across industry, practice, and the public sector, SWC can provide the necessary training and skills needed to succeed and offer accountancy courses from Level 4-7 with Higher Level Apprenticeship options.

Places are still available on our Accounting Technicians Ireland courses, at the South West College, Omagh, Dungannon and Erne campuses. For more information, or to apply visit: or visit SWC Apprentice Connect Events at Omagh campus on May 16, Dungannon campus on May 17, or the Skills Centre, Enniskillen on May 18 from 7-9pm.

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