Foxley Kingham

Foxley Kingham Medical


Foxley Kingham has run its successful apprenticeship programme for many years. Recruiting from local schools and the wider community, each year, the firm takes on a number of accountancy hopefuls, providing an in-depth training programme and support to become fully qualified chartered accountants and embark on a successful career.

But how many who join the programme actually stay at Foxley Kingham, once they’ve become qualified? And how does the firm ensure the talent they attract, stays?

Recruiting local talent for the long-term 

We spoke to Crystal Boston, Foxley Kingham Director, who, since joining the firm in 2008 has taken a lead role in the annual recruitment programme and the process of seeking out and developing local talent, adding further support and enrichment opportunities, as well as, embedding the programme “into the ‘DNA” of the firm.

“Every year we take on enough students to fill our remit, usually two to three. Larger companies may take on many more than this, but only end up with a couple of new recruits. Our ideal is that a student will stay with us and progress,” says Crystal. “27 of our current staff members are a part of, or have been through, our ICAEW training contract programme. Of those, one now sits on the board, eight are in our management team, and three are looking to join in the not-to-distant future.”

A ”nurturing culture” 

“We’re a training firm, but we believe it’s also the right thing to do – recruit talented, ambitious individuals from the local area. Our clients are local so it provides that continuity, excellence and service. We like longevity at FK. We look for those students who go the extra mile, who have the personal qualities, as well as the academic drive. These qualities all assure us that a client will be happy having their accounts handled by our trainees and getting around the table with them.”

Foxley Kingham apprentices are encouraged to get involved in the wider programme too, for the benefit of fellow students.

“We get students in the programme involved in the process with newer recruits, to talk about their experience. It makes the programme more relatable for those coming through and really embeds the supportive and nurturing culture we value.”

A growing workforce

The Foxley Kingham workforce has doubled in size in seven years, to just under 80 employees across two offices. A solid recruitment strategy stands the firm in good stead for creating, not just a stable workforce, but for harnessing the top talent needed to drive the business forward and provide clients with the high-quality, qualified accountants and support they look for.

“We put a lot of effort into creating a robust programme. We build good relationships with schools and visit to talk about accountancy as a career, we get involved with projects such as interview planning and we network, join committees and keeping our finger on pulse of what’s going on. We look to the community for our workforce, we’re outward-looking in that way. It helps to build our long-term ‘homegrown’ workforce,” explains Crystal.

Ready for new recruits for 2023

The firm has just opened up applications for September 2023 and will be conducting visits to schools up until Christmas, before interviewing in February for the next round of recruits.

But the programme never stands still and is likely to develop further for the 2023 cohort. Crystal explains how they are always looking at what’s needed to help students progress and the programme stay as current and engaging as possible.

“We have lots of feedback sessions so we can keep in tune with students and ensure it’s always a level playing field. And we’re not afraid to question ourselves. We always ask: are we doing enough? That runs through our culture. For example, in a recent survey, staff said they wanted an up-to-date pay grade scale, and more team-building exercises, so we addressed those issues. It’s the same with our training programme – we listen and respond, to provide inclusive, clear and achievable opportunities.”

Aimee Wing Walk

Developing existing workforce

Apprentices see first-hand, while they’re training with the firm, for the seven years on the programme, how the Foxley Kingham culture of development and nurture also applies to the existing workforce.

“The audit team have recently gone through an expansion so there was a need to look at development throughout the team, which we did. Our aim is always for everyone to be as upskilled as possible, for – again – that level playing field, engagement and to deliver top quality service to clients,” says Crystal.

Two recent stars of the programme, Abbie and Aimee

Abbie Hedges ICAEW CFAB, is now in her fourth year at the firm, having successfully completed the AAT and CFAB apprenticeships. Abbie is now progressing to the ACA professional level while working in the medical department of Foxley Kingham.

Meanwhile, Aimee Dimmock, an apprentice who joined the programme straight from school a’ levels six years ago, was awarded first place and the livery company prize for Level 4 Accounting technician apprenticeship, a standard set by world-leading professional membership organisation the ICAEW (The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), at a ceremony celebrating top performing students from around the world in ACA exams.

 “There’s real progression here” 

Crystal puts the excellent retention rate from the programme down to the clear programme of progression and nurturing culture.

“Our programme is super-organised and well-structured so students know exactly what they need to do to progress. And there’s real support: from me, other senior staff and fellow students. There’s so much opportunity here and they can see that in day-to-day action.”