Lucy Rollinson and Mica Ellis on consulting apprenticeship benefits

12 March 2020 5 min. read
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The MCA Awards is set to ramp up efforts to honour the contribution of young consultants to the industry this year, with the introduction of the new Rising Star and Apprentice of the Year prizes. As the ceremony draws nearer, Lucy Rollinson and Mica Ellis – two Deloitte Consulting members nominated for Apprentice of the Year – spoke about the high-points of their early careers in the professional services industry.

With British businesses facing a myriad of disruptive challenges in the years ahead, providing support to new consultants who assist organisations with adapting to those coming changes is extremely important. In this challenging environment, the ability of the next generation of consultants to hit the ground running is crucial. As a result, the representative body for management consultancy firms in the UK, the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) has sought to emphasise the role young consultants play in the future of UK business.

One example of this will see an added emphasis on the latest crop of British consultants at this year’s MCA Awards. Alongside the tightly contested Young Consultant of the Year prize, two new awards for the Best New Apprentice and Rising Star (aimed at consultants with three or fewer years of experience) will be introduced to celebrate the efforts of those at the start of their career already making a major impact – while also highlighting the best practices of their bosses in training and trusting them to make the right call.

The rapid learning curve that the early responsibilities of a consulting career enables was a key draw for Mica Ellis, one of several young consultants profiled by the MCA at the start of the year. Speaking on the organisation’s website, Ellis explained that having enjoyed business studies at school, it seemed natural to go on to study this at a degree level. However, “a nagging feeling in the back of my mind” suggested to her that she should try to put theory to practice with “a ‘real’ job in London.”

Mica Ellis and Lucy Rollinson - Young MCA

Ellis, who is nominated for Apprentice of the Year at the MCA Awards, explained, “I had heard positive stories of some quality apprenticeship schemes and began to research opportunities. Deloitte very quickly came onto my radar as a company that, with determination and effort, I could achieve a perfect balance of workplace experience and the option to study for an industry-recognised qualification. I applied and was fortunate enough to be selected for a place on the BrightStart programme working within the Consulting division.”

Another Apprentice of the Year Nominee, Lucy Rollinson, also found Deloitte’s BrightStart apprenticeship programme while researching various different career options. At the time, consulting struck her as a unique opportunity because every day seemed to be different. The variation that this career path seemed to make Rollinson feel she could experience lots of different industries, clients and projects, as a means to “find what I really enjoyed.” In the three years since, Rollinson – who is now a Consultant in Robotic & Intelligent Automation – has found this to be very much the case.

“Upon joining Deloitte, I quickly found an interest in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and have focussed my career in this area,” she elaborated. “I began working with this technology right at the beginning of its introduction into businesses, when many clients were trialling or getting a taste for what it could do to help their organisations. Fast-forward three years and I now work with many clients to deliver large scale automation transformation programmes.”

Ellis also found the opportunity at Deloitte provided an ideal spring-board into her vocation. She has since come to focus on Supply Chain and Sourcing & Procurement work, having been drawn to the area early on with the Big Four firm. Her work with Deloitte in the field has allowed her to accrue a deep knowledge of the subject, enabling her to travel extensively both nationally and overseas to work on client sites.

She summarised, “Working alongside new colleagues and senior members of a client team gives you an opportunity to see new ways of working… Who could have possibly imagined being given the opportunity to sit next to the global supply chain leads of the one of the largest confectionery companies in the world at 20 years of age? For those who are reading this and are potentially considering a career within consulting, I would definitely recommend it. For every opportunity you are given it is another opportunity to build on your existing skills, knowledge and experience. There is an opportunity around every corner at Deloitte Consulting.”

Similarly, Rollinson has also found that her work with Deloitte has served as a catalyst for developing her specialism. In her role as an automation business analyst, she regularly engages with senior client stakeholders to spread the message of the potential for automation, while identifying new opportunities for the roll-out of the technology. On a daily basis, she is also responsible for working with technical development teams and business process experts to take a project from design, through development and testing to go-live – often working with multiple developers and subject matter experts at a time to deliver process automations.

Rollinson concluded, “My career at Deloitte is brilliant! I have been able to work with, and be supported by, fantastic teams and individuals which makes the job fun and rewarding. I would definitely recommend consulting to anyone that is interested in gaining experience in a flexible career where there is always opportunity to take on challenging and stretching roles… My advice to anyone starting their consulting career would be to embrace change and take every opportunity as a chance to learn.”