story 11 February 2022

“Seize the opportunity and go for DofE” – Apprentice Helen plans to continue volunteering at a conservation habitat

As part of National Apprenticeship Week in England, we have been speaking to apprentices who have had the opportunity to work towards their DofE Gold Award as part of their apprenticeship.  

Helen Moody, an Accounts Assistant at RSM is in the second year of her apprenticeship and currently working towards achieving her Gold DofE Award.

After leaving school, Helen was keen to start working and kick-off a career in accounting.

“Quite late in sixth form, I thought maybe university wasn’t for me. I had had enough of the school setting and wanted to go out into the world and get a job, have some financial independence and get on the career ladder. When I saw the advert on RSM’s website it made me want to pursue accountancy. I’m currently completing the Level 4 Apprenticeship and all being well will start the Level 7 in September. Once I have finished my training, I will be a fully chartered accountant, which is fantastic.”

Helen loves volunteering at conservation habitat in her village and plans to keep volunteering after she has achieved her Award.

“My volunteering has been the highlight of doing DofE. I volunteer for two hours on a Sunday at a field in my local village that has been bought by the parish council to convert into a conservation habitat. It has been educational and fun. You’re getting your hands dirty while also learning more about the environment and the importance of sustainability and caring for the natural world.”

“I have also found it great for my mental health. When you’re there you slow right down and focus on one task at a time, it’s a form of mindfulness. Knowing you’re doing something positive also makes you feel good about yourself. It rejuvenates you and helps you not think about the stresses of work or life. You focus on the task at hand. I plan to keep volunteering in the field after I have finished my Award. I never would have pushed myself to volunteer here without taking part in DofE. It has brought me out of my comfort zone and given me the confidence to take on lots of different tasks in my work and personal life.”

Although Covid-19 has created challenges, for Helen it is also the reason she decided to take part in DofE during her apprenticeship.

“Coronavirus has definitely been a challenge. Our expedition has been rescheduled and I had to make sure I could still complete my Physical and Volunteering sections working within the restrictions. However, coronavirus has also presented opportunities. One of the main reasons I chose to do DofE was to meet other members of the RSM family that I would not have met because we are all working from home and not travelling to other offices.”

Helen has been able to develop skills through DofE she knows she can use at work and in life.

“It allows you to build confidence in yourself. Not only have you have done something very challenging; you will have done it while working full-time and studying. That gives you a lot of confidence in your own ability. It also helps you build your multitasking skills and self-discipline and looks brilliant on your CV. For me, as part of DofE, I have planted trees and dredged ponds to help make a positive impact on the environment. I look back and think, ‘I did that. I didn’t expect I would be able to do something like that, but I have, and it wasn’t that hard’. So why not apply that to everyday working life?”

Helen would highly recommend doing DofE as part of an apprenticeship programme.

“Doing DofE as part of an apprenticeship gives you the support and the time off you need to complete it. You also gain skills that perhaps you wouldn’t learn in a working environment. I just think it’s brilliant. In my mind, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t have done it.”

“So, seize the opportunity and go for DofE. Because why not? There’s no reason why you couldn’t achieve an Award if you put your mind to it.”

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