A Cumbrian accountancy firm has expanded the learning and professional development of its staff by enlisting 17 new apprentices.

In its latest intake, Saint & Co offered 10 apprenticeships at its Carlisle office, four in Ambleside, two in Whitehaven and Millom, and one in Wigton.

The company provides apprenticeships across different offices in Cumbria and plans to broaden its scope annually for wider learning opportunities.

Sophie Graham, the firm’s Student Training Partner, oversees the apprenticeship programme.

She said: "Working with apprentices is very important to us as a company and we want to ensure that we offer wider career pathways for all, and not potentially miss out on somebody who doesn’t go down the more traditional route of a university degree.

"We often find apprentices bring a fresh perspective on things and make sure we are moving with the times, and the company is certainly feeling the benefits of working with so many apprentices."

In Cumbria: Sophie Graham, student training partner

Rachel Simpson, who is working towards her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) qualification 15 years after starting at the company, said: "I feel very fortunate to have the great support of the company which has helped find ways of introducing me to new parts of the business I’ve not been involved in before, and I’m excited to be working towards my ACCA qualification.

“I expressed an interest in continuing my development at Saint & Co and learning while working has proved so beneficial to me. I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to expand my training and understanding of the industry.”

Alex Lamont, 17, who felt Sixth Form wasn't suitable for him, started working towards his Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) qualification.

He said: “I did a year of Sixth Form but decided I preferred more practical learning so I went looking for an apprenticeship, which meant I could still get my qualifications while getting experience in the working world.

In Cumbria: (From left) The new intake of apprentices at Saint & Co’s Ambleside office are Jim Quinn, Nadine

“I’ve always loved maths and had always wanted to be an accountant, so when I got this apprenticeship with Saint & Co it seemed like everything had fallen into place.

“I am loving my time here so far because the team is so fantastic that I feel I can ask them anything, and they treat me like I’m part of the team and not a newcomer to the industry fresh from school.”

Saint & Co's apprenticeship programme is open to adults of all ages and experiences.

Those interested can send their CV and cover letter to sophie.graham@saint.co.uk.