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BLOG: Lewis flies the flag for finance and St Luke’s apprenticeships

National Apprenticeship Week 2024

When accounts assistant Lewis Kendall posed for a photo in his gown and mortarboard outside Exeter Cathedral recently, it wasn’t only his long-awaited college graduation he was celebrating.  

The occasion also marked the official end of his time as a St Luke’s apprentice and acknowledged his role as a fully-fledged, permanent member of our Finance Team. 

This week is National Apprenticeships Week (5-11 February), a chance to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Lewis, from Plympton, is now a proud ambassador for St Luke’s apprenticeships, speaking up about how they allow you to learn on the job as well as support you to study for relevant qualifications.  

It proved to be the perfect option for the 27-year-old who was thrilled to find an alternative route into his chosen field of finance and accountancy.  

He explained: “I didn’t really know what to do after A levels. I got three Bs in Maths, History and Business and went to university at Swansea for a while. I liked the course and the subject, but I didn’t get along with the university style of teaching, so I decided to come home and work for a bit.  

“If someone had told me at the time that there was a really good apprenticeship scheme, rather than going to university, then I would have jumped at that.” 

Lewis struck lucky when he spotted an advertisement in May 2019 for a finance apprentice at St Luke’s. 

“I had a really good interview and was taken on by St Luke’s as part of the finance team, with a day of study leave each week to work towards professional qualifications with the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) through Exeter College. 

“I would definitely recommend apprenticeships. I liked the way I could be taught on day release because you are not just studying, you have work responsibilities too. You pick up practical skills in the workplace – stuff that you would not learn in the classroom. I also felt really supported, not like Uni where you can feel like you are on your own. 

“And because St Luke’s were so generous in paying for my course, I felt a good pressure to do well.” 

Lewis did do really well in his Level 2 and 3 AAT studies, despite having to study mostly online because of Covid restrictions, so St Luke’s gave him the opportunity to carry on to Level 4 – the top AAT qualification. 

“This time I had to travel up to Exeter every Wednesday and St Luke’s were kind enough to cover the cost of my fuel, and in January this year I heard that I’d passed Level 4.” 

The icing on the cake was the chance to receive his certificates at a graduation ceremony at Exeter Cathedral last month, watched by his mum and dad and his girlfriend, Eloise. 

“It was a great day celebrating achieving my qualifications. My mum and dad were really proud, especially because I had previously withdrawn from university.” 

Numbers might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Lewis loves them and he’s proud to be part of a background team that is absolutely essential to the smooth running of the organisation. 

“We are quite an unseen specialist team that makes sure the hospice is financially stable,” he explained. “I think the best thing is knowing that the hard work that we put in helps support the services that all the people at front of house provide – our care teams, our fundraising team, our shops.” 

Before qualifying Lewis’s role was mostly dealing with day to day income and financial queries around donations, working closely with fundraising and supporter care. 

“My team is great. St Luke’s recognised my qualification and experience and had a reshuffle so I could have a place in the finance management side of the organisation.” 

As a fully qualified Accounts Assistant he spends more time now working with Management Accountant Nicola Willcocks. 

“The work I do now is really satisfying in that we are dealing with lots of income and expenditure, putting together all the backroom financial information, helping the management accounts team make decisions about, and analyse, budgets. 

“But I don’t just sit at a desk and play with numbers. I like talking people through the numbers if they need any help with that. Giving them all the information they need enables them to make decisions. I gather the data that helps inform those decisions.” 

Underpinning everything Lewis does at St Luke’s is a sense of pride in the organisation. 

“St Luke’s provides such a unique and great service. I live in Plympton, and it feels good to see our cars going out to see patients, knowing that our team helps to make that happen. It’s wonderful that people in the community look so fondly on St Luke’s and get so excited about fundraising for us.”  

When he can, Lewis likes to help out at some of St Luke’s flagship fundraising events.  

“Volunteering at Midnight Walk is probably one of my favourite things to do. It’s great to see so many people who are working a full day and then are prepared to walk miles around Plymouth until two in the morning to raise money for St Luke’s. I do the donations side, making sure the money collected gets safely back to Turnchapel. And I am there afterwards giving out tea, coffee, prosecco and chocolates. 

“It’s great being sat at a computer with the numbers but actually seeing people out like that is wonderful. It fills you with pride.” 

Outside work, Lewis lives at Chaddlewood with Eloise, and in his spare time he’s a keen golfer and one of the current captains of Thurlestone Golf Club. 

“I absolutely love it. St Luke’s was the club’s charity of the year last year, which was wonderful – they raised a lot of money for the organisation.” 

As a hospice, St Luke’s can offer a number of different apprenticeships like Lewis’ to both internal and external candidates. Apprenticeships can range from administration to events management, retail logistics to health and social care, roles in finance to leadership and management. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all our apprentices are part of the St Luke’s family benefiting from our values and support.

If like Lewis, you would be interested in an apprenticeship at St Luke’s you can find out more here.