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Florence Hopper - Young Women's Trust 'Exceptional Apprentice' award winner 2017
A profile of Florence Hopper, the Young Women’s Trust ‘Exceptional Apprentice’ 2017 award winner.
1. What advice would you offer to other young women starting out in their careers?
Network. Talk to, and get to know, as many people in the organisation as you can. It always helps to have friendly faces around the office, that way when you have a query you know people who can point you in the right direction. Take every opportunity that arises to grow your network, get involved in projects, or help with the company’s charity team.
Be proactive. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Instead ask them to show you how to do something, or ask if there’s anything you can help with. Often people are busy and perhaps don’t realise you have the time or capacity to help. By getting involved you learn more about the business and increase your knowledge, as well as demonstrating that you are willing to help.
Be persistent. Success can rarely be achieved without a great deal of hard work, and if it feels like you’re struggling it doesn’t mean that you are failing. Every set back is an opportunity to learn. It’s important to stay positive and keep working hard, even if it’s tough. The hard work will pay off.
And finally, be the best version of yourself that you can. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way – you never know where it could take you.
2. Who/what would you say were your early inspirations/role models?
My family has been my main inspiration. My grandad was an engineer during the war and enjoyed mathematics. As a result I was inspired to pursue a career in maths and finance. It wasn't apparent at the time, but it's something I realise when looking back on it.
My parents have also been strong role models. They inspired me to work hard and encouraged me to pursue a sustainable career. Once you learn it you can do anything you want, and I’ll still have that skill to fall back on.
From the world of fiction, I have always admired, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. Despite not really fitting in she didn't let it bother her too much. Instead she studied hard and was successful in what she wanted to do. It taught me that even if you don't feel like you fit in it’s not the end of the world, and there will always be people who will like you for who you are. You shouldn't have to change or conform to the ‘norm’. She got Harry and Ron out of so many situations, because she worked hard, read the books and knew the spells they needed!
3. What (if any) challenges have you faced along the way?
As everyone knows there are always challenges that come up at the most inconvenient times! Whilst studying for my exams, I was also helping my sister with her finances and learning a new job. On top of that my parents were setting up their own business, so I was helping where I could. We also ended up moving twice in a short period.
I was doing too much and struggled to cope. I ended up failing a few exams on the first attempt and it was really tough to pick myself back up again to re-sit them. But, the hard work paid off and I ended up passing both of those exams in the end.
4. What are your future goals and aspirations?
My current goal is to pass the remaining seven exams and become a fully qualified accountant. This will take about another two years. Once I am nearing the end I will see what opportunities there are at that point.
I don’t really want to plan it all yet because if things don’t work out it can be demotivating. I know that I want to continue learning (in some form) and experience new things, but I’m not sure yet exactly what that will be.