“We could see how the theory we learnt in the classroom was linked to the 'real world'”
– Adam Statham
Accounting and Finance graduate Adam Statham has clinched a coveted place on HMRC’s Tax Professional Development Programme – putting him on the path to a rewarding career in a high-profile government department.
“I couldn’t have asked anything more from my studies at the University of Derby,” enthuses Adam. “I’ve got an unconditional offer on a graduate programme from a major government department, which provides me with a competitive salary and many benefits.”
The four-year programme prepares participants for senior positions as generalist tax professionals or as a specialists in technical or investigative work. Adam’s interest in the opportunity was sparked by a talk given by HMRC graduates as part of his course – and he is immensely grateful for the support he received from the University when he submitted his formal application to join the programme.
He says: “When I was invited to the HMRC assessment centre, I bombarded my tutors and the career centre with questions such as ‘what have I let myself in for?’ They were really helpful in letting me know what to expect. I feel that, without their support, I wouldn’t have been aware of this programme and wouldn’t have been successful.”
That impressive level of support is something which Adam has appreciated throughout his University of Derby experience. He explains: “The tutors are always enthusiastic and available outside class times if you need them. They are friendly and approachable, which is essential when you’re trying to manage your stress levels and overcome challenges.”
Adam’s personal challenges centred on balancing his academic work with a demanding job as a HR clerk – not to mention an active social life revolving around his passions of sport and travel. Throughout his studies, he worked between 16 and 39 hours per week at Sainsbury’s.
Having spent time on night shifts putting stock on the shelves at the store, he spotted a vacancy in the HR department. “The HR Manager saw that I had been confirmed on an Accounting and Finance course at the University of Derby – without this, I don’t feel I’d have stood out from the other candidates.”
In his role at Sainsbury’s, Adam has been jointly responsible for the pay of up to 400 colleagues, inputting schedules, ordering uniforms to a budget, and assisting with the refit of the store – a process in which 100 additional staff were recruited.
“Having a job while studying enabled me to link what happens in the real world to what we were learning about in the classroom,” he comments. “When studying Management Accounting, for instance, we learnt about the Balanced Scorecard. It helped me understand why Sainsbury’s has a Balanced Scorecard, and how it improves the business.”
He concludes: “I feel that, with the number of graduates in the job market today, it is essential to gain relevant experiences to set you apart from the rest. Combining work with university helped me to develop many of the professional skills – such as communication, team work and confidentiality – that are required in the business world today. It has stood me in good stead for the future.”