With four As and an A* in her A Levels, Tooba Siddiqui was the ‘ideal’ candidate for university.
But Tooba opted to take her accountancy career path down an apprenticeship route instead.
Admittedly, Tooba had always wanted to go to university. In fact, she was accepted into her first choice facility – the University of Warwick to study economics.
However, with that offer came her financial fears. Tooba wondered how she could afford the tuition fees, accommodation costs and the cash needed to maintain a student lifestyle.
The more she thought about her future, the more Tooba was drawn to the opportunities an apprenticeship offered, particularly in her dream field of accountancy.
Having heard about leading training provider BPP Professional Education and its sought-after scholarship scheme, high-achieving Tooba applied.
A gruelling interview process followed with Tooba impressing throughout the stages to win the scholarship.
Starting with a higher apprenticeship, the scholarship covered the full cost of BPP Professional Education training towards her ACA qualifications - worth around £15,000. It also meant Tooba had secured the opportunity to become a fully-qualified chartered accountant without incurring any tuition fees or student loans.
But whilst she had won the training, she still needed to find a business to employ her.
Armed with her A grades and £15,000 worth of expert training from a leading provider, Tooba started applying to firms for her apprenticeship.
Soon the teenager was preparing for a working life with on-the-job training from leading financial firm UHY Hacker Young.
“I had always imagined going through university and then the graduate programme for ACA qualification but I also wanted to seize the opportunity I was given with the scholarship because it helped me fast track into just where I wanted to go,” said the 19-year-old from London.
“At the time, choosing between university and an apprenticeship was an extremely difficult decision because prior to my scholarship, I was always looking at the University of Warwick and praying that I had made it in.
“I actually received an offer from Warwick as well as Bristol, Queen Mary University of London and an unconditional offer from the University of Birmingham. But I knew I wanted to pursue an apprenticeship and it’s a decision I do not regret one bit.
“I know there is a social view of apprentices not being viewed as ‘academic’ in comparison to university students but having been through this process, that’s definitely not the case. It’s a challenging field and ultimately highly-respected.
“Following my scholarship, I had another difficult decision after two companies offered opportunities to me. I chose UHY and have never looked back.”
Tooba began her apprenticeship with UHY in October and will be with them as part of a five-year ACA programme.
“I’ve already learnt so much. I’m loving it,” she said.
“I’m so glad I chose UHY and they chose me. They’re so supportive, kind and understanding. We have a great support system which I feel is really important, especially for young people, so to have that encouragement available to us is brilliant.
“The people at UHY and the audit students and seniors are all a great help which also makes it easier to cope throughout this journey I'm on.
“I’d recommend any young person to go through an apprenticeship scheme. I can’t wait to see what my future holds.”