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My ACA experience: Tooba

Tooba had originally planned to go to university, but doing her higher apprenticeship changed her mind. She started as a ICAEW CFAB Trainee and is well on her way to becoming a fully qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountant at just 21.

Tooba Siddiqui

Tooba Siddiqui ICAEW CFAB Trainee, UHY Hacker Young

ICAEW route: Apprenticeship

Industry: Audit and assurance

Location: UK, London

Tooba's story...

Whilst doing my A levels, I was set on going to university. However, as I always like to research alternatives, I also applied for a scholarship with BPP which would fund my ACA studies. I received offers from four different universities and also found out that I had won the scholarship, which made my decision very difficult! Despite my original plan to attend university, I soon realised that the graduate debt I would be facing was too much and that was eventually the deciding factor for me.

I attended various workshops and career fairs to find out more about what opportunities are available and made sure to take part in different programmes to develop skills that would help me secure a higher apprenticeship. The “Get In Get On” programme, a virtual work experience, along with invaluable guidance I received from my amazing mentors, Natalie and Matt, helped me better understand what accountancy is really about and what I should expect.

As a Higher Apprentice, your typical working day varies. Sometimes you are at clients’ premises, other days you are at the office, but you always get to join in on all the fun. After periods of hard work and studying, there’s plenty of social events to look forward to. 

One of the best things about my job is that there is an opportunity for continuous growth - from working with various clients to managing different personalities within your team, there is always something to learn and help you develop. Naturally, as you progress, your responsibilities increase as well. This can be challenging, but it is also highly rewarding.

During the first two years of my apprenticeship, I had my place at university deferred as a back-up plan. However, two years have gone by and I don’t regret my decision at all! Thanks to the higher apprenticeship, I acquired hands on knowledge, learned how to balance work and studying and how to interact in a work environment. I have also learned to enjoy the little things in life. Coming straight from A levels to a professional job can be daunting, but I had great support and as time goes by, you eventually learn how to manage it all.

For anyone considering their options after school, I would say you should follow your gut instinct. Try to get experience, work hard, and learn how to sell yourself. Above all, be passionate and value human relationships. If you know you can help someone, then do. The rewards will be priceless!

Find your route

There are a number of different routes to becoming an ICAEW Chartered Accountant. You can start your journey straight from school, while you're at university or after you have graduated. Find out which route is right for you.

Find your route