The Academy

Award-winning scheme sees apprentices employed a year early

Great Annual Savings’ (GAS) national award-winning apprenticeship scheme has reached new heights, seeing our first cohort progress to permanent employment a year ahead of schedule.

After being named ‘Best Newcomer SME’ in the North East last October, Great Annual Savings Group received a special mention at the National Apprenticeship Awards in January for the speed of progress it has made.

Our first year apprentices have shown similar attainment themselves, exceeding expectations and taking their final assessments 12 months early to complete their apprenticeship in two years, rather than three.

In total, seven apprentices have been confirmed into full-time roles in Sales, Administration, HR and Finance.  They have completed Level 2 and are fast-tracking Level 3 NVQs and are imminently sitting industry exams with bodies including the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD).

Some of the Apprentices confirmed into full time roles a year early (L to R) Louise Richardson, Michael Cunningham, Nathan Raine, Clark Stead, Bethany Armstrong, Nathan Cassidy.

Judith Bennison, Group HR Director, said: “We are delighted with our apprentices.  We’ve held them up as success stories within the business ever since they joined in September 2015 and they’ve gone on to exceed our expectations.

“With their prominent roles in their teams, we were certain they were ready for full-time employment and to move on to the next step in their career.  They have all taken part in showcasing our apprenticeship scheme to the outside world by participating in jobs fairs and open days to tell other young people about the company and their personal journey.

“We’re incredibly proud of our scheme and are looking forward to taking even more apprentices on during September and early October this year.”

Now that the first cohort of apprentices have been confirmed into roles, the second cohort are also on track to do the same in 2018.  Their apprenticeships have been shortened from three years to two years. The Group recently launched the GAS Group Academy, dedicated to training Sales Apprentices.  The first Academy cohort has been successfully integrated and GAS plans to take on 60 more apprentices over the next 12 months.

To find out more about our apprenticeship scheme, please visit our dedicated GAS Academy site.

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.