First Birmingham Kaplan Scholar for three years

Monday 06 July 2015

First Birmingham Kaplan Scholar for three years

The first Kaplan Scholar from Birmingham in three years is sixth form student Tayyaba from St Alban’s Academy in Highgate.  She is just one of eight young people from across the UK to be selected for Kaplan’s prestigious Accountancy Scholarship, from hundreds of applicants.

Each year, Kaplan awards school-leavers from across the UK Accountancy Scholarships, each worth £15,000, to study for an Accountancy Apprenticeship (ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, CIPFA or CTA) followed by the chance to carry out further professional Accountancy qualifications.

Tayyaba, who is studying A levels in Maths, Urdu and ICT, plus BTEC business level 3, is determined to achieve her goal of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

“When I was very young I wanted to be a teacher – but when I came to secondary school I started to realise that I wanted to be an accountant.  I had a maths teacher in year 9 who was going on to work for PWC in Birmingham so I was able to speak with her about a career in accountancy.”

“I want to help people.  Some people open businesses, a small shop for example, but they don’t really know how much profit they’re making, or how the business is performing one year after the next  – because they don’t understand the finances.   I want to help people to make their business a success – I don’t want them to open a business with great hopes and then fail.  Accountancy is a core part of any business.”

To be awarded the scholarship, Tayyaba had to go through a gruelling process of interviews and presentations in which her love of art played an unusual but crucial role.

“Part of the selection process was a presentation and interview with a panel – you could present of anything that you wanted – but not accountancy!  I spoke about art – about why art helps me – and the skills I have gained, and I took samples of my paintings with me.  Art is colour – it adds meaning into your life.  When I’m painting I’m not thinking about anything else – it makes me relaxed.  I was drawing before the presentation so that I wasn’t nervous!  I forget about stress when I’m painting.”

It hasn’t been an easy road for Tayyaba to get this scholarship – there have been plenty of knock backs and she’s had to work very hard to get here.  On top of all the studying she has undertaken seven work placements with companies such as Telereal Trillium, Rikem and Glide Utilities.  She also undertook a 5 day placement in London at Ark’s head office.

“I loved my work placement with Ark in London.  I carried out a research project for Future Leaders which looked at their recruitment processes and procedures.  Only five students were selected.  It was my first time away from home so I was nervous but excited.  Our accommodation was close to the office so I could walk to work every day.  Living alone made me realise that I can be independent and I can do it.  I’m much more confident now.  I still talk to the staff that I worked with on email - it has given me a really good network.”

And all of the hard work paid off when Tayyaba got the call she was waiting for from Kaplan.

“I was very tired after my final presentation – but I was happy because I felt that I had performed well.  When they called and told me I had got it I screamed!!  My sister ran across the room and she screamed!  I was about to cry – I was jumping and laughing.  I told my Dad and he started crying as well!

I hadn’t told everybody at school – just my close friends - in case I didn’t get it.  I pretended to Ms Smith (Director of Post-16 Progression) that I hadn’t got it - and then told her that I had – and she screamed as well!   The whole 6th form clapped – it was great.”

Tayyaba is now working hard for her A level exams and has just secured an apprenticeship with Birmingham firm JW Hinks where she will start working in August.

“I love being in a business environment and I’m really looking forward to finishing my exams and starting work.  I’m very excited about the future.”