How my AAT bursary is helping me achieve my dreams

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Benedicta moved to the UK from Ghana in 2017 to advance her studies. After it became impossible for her to pay her fees she applied for an AAT bursary which supports students most in need and covers their fees. This is her inspirational story…

When did you start your AAT studies?

I started studying AAT Level 3 in September 2018 at Newham College, Level 3.  I’d already studied business and accounting back home in Ghana (equivalent to Levels 1 and 2) and had to do an entrance exam here to get on to Level 3. 

Why did you decide to start studying with AAT? 

I knew AAT was the right path for me for my accounting profession. I want to continue my studies on to ACCA or CIMA and become a Chartered Accountant and AAT puts you on the right path for this with some exemptions when you start ACCA or CIMA. 

Tell me about your AAT journey so far

I completed Level 3 in October 2019 and I found it fairly straightforward. It was just the last Synoptics exam that I found hard. Before that, I had always passed exams the first time but that one I had to sit three times. It was very challenging. 

I faced some difficulties at home and was unable to progress with my studies as I couldn’t pay the fees. That’s when I applied for the bursary and when I was accepted I moved on to Level 4 Professional Diploma. 

Can you tell me about the challenges you’ve faced while studying? 

I moved to the UK in 2017 to continue my studies and because my dad lives here. It was the first time for me travelling outside of Ghana and away from my mum.

Before I finished Level 3 I had some domestic issues with my dad and I was badly injured falling from the fifth floor of a tower block. I had to move in with a guardian and his family but I had no other help or anyone to help pay my fees and I was unable to work with my injuries.

I found it really difficult. All my dreams and goals of being a Chartered Accountant were coming to an end. 

What have been your greatest achievements on your AAT journey? 

When I got the email that I got the bursary I felt that I had achieved something great. It gave me what I needed to move to the next level. 

How did you find out about the bursary? 

Level 3 and Level 4 were taught by the same teacher at Newham College. When all my peers could move on to Level 4 and I couldn’t I told my teacher about my circumstances. He had heard of the AAT bursary and told me to apply.

What did you have to do to apply?

I had to explain my story and my difficulties and what prevented me from being able to pay my fees.

How did you feel when you found out you got the bursary? 

I want to say a big thank you to AAT because I wasn’t expecting the email to say I got the funding. Before I received it, it felt like my career and life were coming to an end and the bursary gave me the strength and hope I needed to go back to my studies.

It had taken me months to get back on my feet and I don’t know what I would’ve done without it. I would’ve had to stay at home and give up my dreams of being an accountant. 

Thank you to Benedicta for sharing her incredible and truly inspirational story with us.

AAT is proud to have been changing lives for 40 years. We are so happy to support Benedicta and the other bursary recipients on their journeys and to continue to promote social mobility. 

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Hannah Dolan is AAT Comment’s Content Editor.

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