"I am incredibly proud to be the first Blackburn College student who passed the course with a Distinction, as it is a globally recognised qualification that I know is highly valued within the accountancy industry."

James studied Blackburn College's AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting with Employer PM+M Accountants and achieved Distinction in his End Point Assessment (EPA); becoming the first Assistant Accounting Apprentice at the College to do so.

James said: "Despite achieving A, A, B in A-Level Accounting, Mathematics and Physics, I decided to go down the route of an Apprenticeship rather than the ‘traditional’ route of University, as I wanted to embark on a challenging and compelling career in Accounting and Finance.

"I am incredibly proud to be the first Blackburn College student who passed the course with a Distinction, as it is a globally recognised qualification that I know is highly valued within the accountancy industry.

"I am very grateful for the support and encouragement that I have received from everyone at Blackburn College and PM+M and I am looking forward to putting what I have learned into practice.

"Since starting my Apprenticeship, my understanding has developed immensely through gaining invaluable on the job experience of working with numerous clients from various sectors. I have developed my technical knowledge and skills such as using accounting software, team working, professional communication, time management and leadership."

He added: "My Apprenticeship has impacted on me greatly, as my ambitions have grown since embarking on it. Hands on learning through the Apprenticeship has ignited my passion for detailed work and I have been able to see how my learning is applicable in the real world.

"I can see there is a purpose to my work and this has led me to be even more motivated as I can see the impact on my Employer.

"I have now started my AAT Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship and I am working towards a career as a Chartered Accountant."