How AAT helped me find my dream career in a new country

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Accountancy was a natural career path for Elena Palade.

“I was always more comfortable working with numbers than words so a career in accounting suited me,” says Elena.

But when financial difficulties prevented her from continuing her study in her home country of Romania, her career was put on hold. Fascinated by England, the then 21-year-old moved to New Brighton as an au pair for an English family.

“I have to admit that at the beginning it was quite difficult and there were days when I wondered why I came but I was lucky enough to live with a great English family and once I started ESOL courses, I made new friends and started enjoying my time in the UK.”

Love took her to London where she reignited her commitment to accounting.

“I met my future husband and he convinced me to move to London. I worked as a coffee shop assistant while studying for my first AAT qualification.”

Remaining focused on her long term goal helped her stay committed despite the challenges of learning in a new language.


Completing the AAT qualifications has given me a great sense of pride.

“At the beginning it didn’t make sense, being different from what I had learned at home but very quickly I fell in love with it.”

Working while learning helped to cement her skills.

“When I began the Advanced Diploma in Accounting I also started an internship in the finance department at Almas Industries.”

After five months Elena was offered a role at Almas Industries as an accounts assistant. Despite her busy workload, with family support, she progressed to the Professional Diploma in Accounting.

“The most challenging part of studying AAT was having a full time job and attending classes at the college during weekends, working long office hours and sometimes running off to college when I was studying in the evenings.  But with support from my family I succeeded.”

Elena completed the professional qualification in less than 10 months, a personal accomplishment.

“Completing AAT has given me a great sense of pride. Getting married, being able to get my own flat and finishing the qualifications in three years is my greatest personal accomplishment.”

With plans to open her own practice one day, Elena is currently studying ACCA to achieve chartered status.

“I would advise other students to keep studying and persevere when they have difficulty. At the end of the road there is great satisfaction in reaching your goals.”

Why AAT?

With student satisfaction with their overall university experiences falling, vocational qualifications make for a compelling alternative – indeed nearly half of graduates have told AAT that they would have had better career prospects if they’d gone down the vocational route. Many employers are looking at this as a good way of getting staff that are well trained and who will be able to get to know the business over time and be a good fit.

Elena studied with UKCBC.

UKCBC is a leading educational institution based in the heart of London, enabling those with a passion for higher education, the opportunity to further their academic qualifications.

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