An apprenticeship ambassador recalled her own experience of Carlisle Skills Fair as the event recently marked its tenth anniversary.

Bethany Duffy, of Grant Thornton LLP, paid tribute to the fair hosted by city MP John Stevenson.
She said: “Back in 2018 I was walking around Carlisle Skills Fair with my mum, knowing I had an interest in the accountancy sector but not much more than that.
“I was academic at school and it was therefore expected that I would go to university.
“After gathering lots of information and handouts from various stands at the Carlisle Skills Fair, we were completing our final lap of the hall when my mum spotted a Grant Thornton UK LLP stand in the corner.
“We started talking to a gentleman on the stand and I immediately felt like this was a firm that cared about its people, offered exciting work opportunities, and would support me through my qualifications.”
Grant Thornton is a leading professional services firm with offices across 140 countries, employing more than 5,000 employees guided by 200-plus partners across 27 offices in the UK.
To Bethany’s delight, they had an office in her hometown, Carlisle.
“I started my career at Grant Thornton in the Carlisle office in public sector audit on the school leaver programme,” she said.
“Fast forward over five years and I have completed my AAT qualification and my ACA qualification, making me a qualified chartered accountant.”
Presently, in her role as an apprenticeship ambassador, she seeks to share her apprenticeship journey with others by attending careers fairs and delivering school assemblies.
She also participates in volunteer activities like the School Enterprise Programme and One Million Mentors, all aimed at enhancing youth employability and inclusiveness.
In recognition of her work, Bethany won PQ of the Year at the 2020 PQ Awards and North West Apprentice of the Year at the 2022 National Apprentice Awards.
She said: “These are achievements I am very proud of and they inspire me to continue to promote both the accountancy profession and the apprenticeship pathway to others.”
Bethany offered her gratitude to Mr Stevenson and the Carlisle Skills Fair.
She said: “Looking back, joining Grant Thornton was one of the best decisions I have ever made and for that I have John Stevenson and the Carlisle Skills Fair to thank.”