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Matt Johns at the North Devon Journal Business Awards 2016
Matt Johns: Apprentice of the Year (North Devon Journal Business Awards) 2016

Apprentice of the Year 2016!

AAT Annual Training Provider Awards including Apprentice of the Year 2016

Last week we attended the AAT’s Annual Training Provider Conference – and in force too, as 9 of us travelled up to Birmingham for the 2 days (5th and 6th May).

On the Thursday evening, the AAT held their Training Provider Awards Ceremony – we were delighted to have been shortlisted (along with 3 other providers) for the AAT Champion Award. Additionally, Matt Johns who is an AAT Apprentice in training with us; was shortlisted as Apprentice of the Year 2016.

Nine of us from Accountancy Learning at the AAT Awards 2016
Nine of us from the Accountancy Learning team at the AAT Awards 2016

Sadly, neither we nor Matt won our respective awards, however…

North Devon Journal Business Awards 2016

We also submitted an entry for Matt to the annual North Devon Journal Business Awards (ceremony also on 5th May), again, in the Apprentice of the Year category.

And… he won!!! Many congratulations to Matt on his amazing achievement.

And… here’s why he won:


Matt’s parents run their own business, as did his grandparents. He has learnt from their work ethic and their community involvement and is now applying this himself. Being an extremely focussed individual, he has clear objectives, is highly motivated, studies hard and works hard.

His Apprenticeship has been with Maynard Johns, an accounting practice based in Bideford, North Devon.

Progress on his AAT Apprenticeship in Accounting

  • Matt enrolled directly onto AAT Level 3 in September 2014
  • He progressed to AAT Level 4 in September 2015
  • And he’s due to complete his AAT Level 4 by September 2016
  • Matt then wants to progress to ACA studies

His work in the office has developed steadily alongside his studies so that he can apply his skills as he acquires them.

Challenges that Matt has Overcome

Matt suffers from IgA nephropathy, a possible life-shortening kidney condition, involving occasional hospitalisation. Rather than holding him back, this has motivated him to drive harder to achieve his ambitions.

“Having this kidney condition (IgA nephropathy) has given me the boost I need to achieve big whilst I still have the ability to do so! Having this possible life-shortening condition has been a huge battle, but I am using it in a positive light to give myself the motivation to succeed more than ever!”

General Observations

As well as his full time Apprenticeship in a North Devon accountancy practice, Matt runs his own printing business (by himself) and finds time for a considerable amount of voluntary work with his local tennis club.

From September 2013, he has been designing and printing orders of service for over 100 families across North Devon. He has also used these contacts to help friends develop their own businesses providing music for funerals. This helps build Matt’s business networks at the same time.

His tennis activities involve:

  • Level 2 qualified tennis coaching for children aged 4-18 and assisting with a mini tennis festival every quarter
  • Men’s Captain – of Atlantic Racquet Centre Tennis & Sports Club, managing 8 teams
  • Club committee duties, including organising their tournament programme and preparing the project accounts
  • Development committee duties – a project for a 4 in-door, 6 out-door, multi-racquet sports facility, getting involved in the design, marketing and promotion sub-committees
  • Submission of only successful application in Devon to host “a day with the Davis Cup” – planned for 4.9.16

Sometimes students grumble when we expect them to put in 8 hours of study each week….
Matt’s week comprises:

  • Employment as an Accounting Apprentice: 37.5 hours
  • Running own printing business: 25 hours
  • Mini Tennis Coaching: 5 hours
  • Private Tennis Coaching: 3 hours
  • Men’s Captaincy: 6 hours
  • Tennis Committees: 4 hours
  • Website Updating: 3 hours
  • Oh yes, and undertaking AAT studies: 8 hours
  • Total: 91.5 hours = 13 hours a day

(He has signed a Working Time Directive waiver!)
And he does all this despite his IgA nephropathy – or perhaps because of it.
And …… he is a really nice guy!