Clive Owen LLP has geared up for further growth at its Darlington office with the appointment of four new trainees, despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The local young people will have the opportunity to gain skills, qualifications and experience while earning a salary. During a three-year training contract, three of the trainees will receive full study support for the prestigious ACA qualification with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW).

Sophie Waterer (24), Laura Blenkinsopp (22) and Declan Smith (23) have joined as trainee-chartered accountants and Joshua Caisley (19), who completed A-levels in Maths, Chemistry and Economics last year, is an AAT trainee.

Laura from Middlesbrough and Declan, who comes from Spennymoor, have completed degrees at Newcastle and Northumbria University.  Laura, who can often be found at the gym working on her fitness, achieved First Class (BSc (Hons) in Economics and Finance with a placement role at Nike UK and Declan gained an integrated Master’s degree in Maths.  He undertook a year’s placement at Lloyds Banking Group to enhance his understanding of finance.

Joshua, who lives in Ingleby Barwick, spent a year out travelling and working in customer service in a call centre.  When not working, Joshua can be found tinkering with his beloved car or playing golf with his dad.  He is looking forward to starting his new career at Clive Owen LLP.

Sophie, from Hetton-Le-Hole, studied an undergraduate degree in Accounting and postgraduate degree in Forensic Accounting both at Northumbria University.  She has previously worked as a corporate audit assistant at a top 10 accountancy firm.

Tony Luckett, managing partner at Clive Owen LLP, said: “Some things may have been very different this year, but the firm remains committed to its policy of recruiting and retaining the best people. This will allow us to grow and continue to develop the business.

I am delighted that we can still give young people the opportunity to take their first steps on the career ladder.”

“A number of Clive Owen’s current team began as trainees at the firm. Taking on trainees is a direct investment in the future development of our workforce and it’s a fantastic way to support local, talented individuals who are keen to start their careers.”

“Being based in Darlington means that we can offer a high quality of work experience and training alongside a great work life balance. We believe we have recruited four young people who will be an asset to the firm, proving that the town can compete well with the bigger cities like Leeds or Newcastle.”

Declan Smith said: “I am proud to have joined an award-winning accountancy firm here at Clive Owen LLP. Having worked in a large corporation previously I am excited to be part of a smaller firm that is constantly growing.”

The firm has recently achieved many accolades including being shortlisted this year  in the Services category of the North East Business Awards for the Teesside region.

The Clive Owen Corporate Finance team has also again topped the financial adviser deal volume league table for the North East for the first half of 2020 having delivered 18 transactions, with the next ranked adviser recording six.

The team was also ranked 17th nationally by Experian’s annual UK and Republic of Ireland mergers and acquisitions (M&A) report ahead of such household names as Goldman Sachs, independent investment bank Liberium Capital and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.