A TILBURY apprentice has become the first woman from social mobility charity, Leadership Through Sport and Business (LTSB), to qualify as a fully-fledged accountant.
Bola Lawal, who studied at The Gateway Academy in Grays, joined LTSB’s apprenticeship programme in September 2015 and trained with Berg Kaprow Lewis LLP (BKL) before securing a role with Santander.
Bola, who was previously recognised as LTSB’s Apprentice of the Year, became fully qualified at the end of 2019 and said she was delighted that her hard work had paid off: “It takes an extreme amount of hard work and effort. At times I would work till late during the week then go for classes during the weekend and go straight back to work the following Monday with no breaks. It’s wasn’t easy but the key for me was staying motivated and focused on the fact that this is all part of the journey.”
Bola, 24, added: “It feels great to be a qualified accountant but quite surreal at the same time because it’s been a long time coming.
“I could not have imagined any of this at all 5 years ago. I’ve always worked hard and hoped to achieve this but I didn’t know how and when I was going to get there.
“My friends and family are very proud and a little bit relieved for me now that it’s all over!”
As part of the LTSB apprenticeship, which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds secure jobs with blue chip companies in the financial sector, Bola completed AAT Levels 2 and 3 through the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.
Bola continued her accountancy education by taking an ACCA at Kaplan, the UK’s largest accountancy training provider.
The former student was full of praise for apprenticeships and advised those currently considering university to think twice: “My advice to school leavers is to follow your own path. You definitely do not need to go to university to get a top job, you do have to be determined and ready to work hard.”
“I definitely could not have done any of this without the support of LTSB. I don’t know where my career would be but most importantly my growth and belief in myself, coming from where I started to achieving this has a lot to do with LTSB.”
David Pinchin launched LTSB in 2012 after a successful career in the city where he co-founded brokers Tradition Financial Services in 1985.
He said: “Bola is an amazing young woman who should be extremely proud of her achievements – she’s a great example of the talent and drive that can too often be overlooked, leading to a cycle of underemployment and lost potential.”
To help more deserving bright young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, LTSB needs more employers and funding partners. Please contact chief executive of LTSB Caroline Adair: email@example.com if you can help directly or indirectly.