By Jude Obi AAT news Commuting four hours a day, working full time and studying – meet AAT’s Apprentice of the Year 8 May 2015 The 2015 AAT Training Provider Awards took place on Thursday 30 April, celebrating AAT students, tutors, and training providers from around the world. One of the award highlights was Apprentice of the Year, won by Daniel Amoakoh. Daniel moved to the UK from Ghana and the lack of opportunities he saw there have made him strive for success through education. Despite having a four hour round trip commute for his classes Daniel had full attendance, submitted all his work on time and won a ‘Most Punctual Student’ award from his training provider. Even with work and his long commute Daniel manages to carry out tutorial sessions with his classmates and mentor younger apprentices while he completes Level 4 of the AAT Qualification. AAT Comment spoke to Daniel about he manages to do it all. Doing my research I realised that I was interested in accounting while studying my A-Levels at school, so I researched paths I could take into becoming a chartered accountant some day and an apprenticeship suited me more than going to university. I’m the type of person who would prefer to work and study at the same time rather than studying and then looking for a job. I applied for an apprenticeship scheme with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, known as the Leadership Through Sport programme. The scheme was a combination of representing the club in the local community and mentoring young members of the community, alongside studying the AAT qualification and also working for a firm three days a week. Dealing with a setback I completed Level 2 of the qualification within three months with all first passes but unfortunately there were no more spaces on the programme to continue with Level 3. This minor setback didn’t stop me from applying for other accountancy opportunities. I wanted to enhance my skills so I took a training course in computerised management accounting at my training provider, the Training Place of Excellence. After my management accounting course the Training Place’s partnership firm offered me an opportunity to be an accounts apprentice and to study the AAT Level 3 qualification. I completed that within a year and am now currently studying for the AAT level 4 qualification. I have also been working as a junior accountant for a logbook loan company in East Finchley for ten months. My job now and next steps My workplace is a fast growing company with a very fast paced and dynamic work environment. This keeps me busy and on my toes. I enjoy it because I enjoy working with figures and problem solving, and I also like building relationships with clients and my colleagues. My ultimate goal is to become a chartered accountant. I hope to go into auditing, assurance or consultancy for a recognised accountancy firm, alongside studying the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). What I’ve gained from AAT I feel that studying the qualification has helped me start my career. I have also learnt how to balance my work, studies and family and social life. AAT has given me a very good practical and theoretical knowledge of the accounting profession, enabled me to understand certain financial processes in depth, and given me a professional and ethical approach to work. I’m more confident in my accounting skills, and more aware of certain financial procedures and processes. What I’d say to other students Work hard, apply yourself and to be proud of your achievements. When I started my first accounting role I was employed on a temporary basis but in January I moved into a full time role which left me with less time to study, taking into account that I had to travel a total of four hours a day to work and then to my training provider. This change made me fail my indirect tax exam, the first exam I did not pass the first time. However, I didn’t let this affect me and chose to go the extra mile by going to a local library to study straight after work. I would study for an hour a day on weekdays, and two hours a day on weekends, which helped me pass the exam when I retook it. You can never fail unless you quit. About the Author: Jude Obi is AAT’s Assistant Media Relations Manager promoting issues that matter to AAT and its members. Jude Obi is AAT's Assistant Media Relations Manager.