How I got to where I am: from accountancy to Parliament

Holly Jennings in front of the Palace

I’m a programme and project officer in PDS. It’s my job to look at financial forecasts for programmes and projects, and report on how that work is performing. I also do other things to help the team like book rooms and take minutes at meetings.

I started my career by training to be an accountant and I’ve written this blog post to talk about how I ended up at Parliament.

On the path to accountancy

My first ‘proper’ job was working as a project officer in healthcare for a referral management service. It involved similar tasks to my current job but it didn’t have the finance element. One of the things that I did there was to try to make the service less chaotic and more proactive.

I applied for the job after studying maths at university. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at first but I was interested in healthcare and also thought about becoming an accountant as a more long term plan.

After I’d been at the healthcare job for a while I accepted a training contract to become a chartered accountant. This meant that I was working full-time, studying towards the qualification, doing exams, and travelling a lot to do audits of our clients. Eventually it became too much for me. I realised I wasn’t enjoying it and could no longer see it as a long term career option so I decided to leave and think about what I really wanted to do.

Which direction to go in next?

I took on a temporary job working in a pharmaceutical company and ended up staying there for ten months. I thought project management was a route I’d like to explore so I started a job at a healthcare startup doing that. It was a remote job and my role was to work with customers to encourage them up to use the app that the company had built. This involved visiting hospitals across London to train clinicians and admin staff on how to use it.

I realised that the project management I was doing was very informal and I wasn’t learning as much about it as I’d hoped. So when I saw this job advertised in Parliament, I decided to go for it.

I’ve been here almost a year now and have recently been working with one of the business analysts to get some experience in this area as it’s something I’m interested in. We worked together to write a paper for providing staff with hardware.

The best advice I've had is that you don’t need to have one career as there’s so much possibility to move elsewhere. I’m not entirely sure which direction I’d like to go in next but I’ll continue to gain business analysis experience and also think about other areas that I might enjoy.

Interested in working at PDS? Find out more about working here

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