Posted: 15 Aug. 2019 8 min. read

Back to school: Lakiesha's story

Please note: the original article was written by Lakiesha Maxey.

The summer holidays are upon us and A-level results are out! Meanwhile, Lakiesha Maxey, a former student at one of our One Million Futures (OMF) partner schools has been heading back to school. Except this time she’s not entering the classroom as a student but as an OMF volunteer, having joined Deloitte as an apprentice in audit. Read about how Lakiesha has come full circle through OMF and learn about our BrightStart higher apprenticeship programme.

I was a student at John Madejski Academy, the OMF partner school in Reading. When I was in year 13, Deloitte employees visited our school to run CV and mock interview workshops.

I hadn’t heard of Deloitte until I attended the workshops and I wasn’t aware of anyone who worked at the firm. I had always assumed university was the natural next step for me.

The programmes that Deloitte delivered in my school opened my eyes to the alternative routes into work and further education.

I applied for a job on Deloitte’s BrightStart scheme in audit to start in September 2017. The application process was quite challenging in places, particularly the assessment centre, but I got through it and in parts I found it quite enjoyable!

I studied geography, biology and psychology at school, so I had no previous knowledge or experience of audit or accounting. My only previous work experience was in retail so I hadn’t worked in an office environment before, therefore it wasn’t like anything I’d experienced.

As a BrightStart, I was surprised by the amount of responsibility I was given at a junior level and introduced to new things, such as computer-based exams. I had a coach and a buddy which meant there were people I could speak to and seek support from which helped me to settle and transition into the firm well.

I am now a Relationship Manager for my school, John Madejski Academy. I have regular contact with the school and I work with colleagues to manage and develop programmes to support the current students.

It was a bit weird at first going back to school! But it’s great to have been a student and be able to show the current pupils that they could also have a career at a company like Deloitte.

At a recent careers fair, some of the students said that they didn’t feel they could relate to people who worked at companies like Deloitte. So, it was great to show them that I’ve done it, so they can too!

As part of my role, I have to juggle studying with client work as well as any upcoming volunteering commitments. My managers are very supportive in allowing me to be flexible with my work. This means I am able to find time to manage all aspects of my roles and responsibilities at the firm.

I also took part in a recent panel discussion on the future of higher education at Deloitte, along with Professor Baroness Alison Wolf, an adviser to the Government on post-18 education and funding.

At this panel, an audience member asked me what skills I wish I had learnt at school – and I said public speaking was one of them. However, looking around the room, I realised how working at Deloitte has enabled me to build my confidence and speak in front of a room full of strangers, senior executives and colleagues. I wouldn’t have been able to do that two years ago!

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Deanna Foster

Deanna Foster

Senior Assistant

Deanna is part of the Responsible Business team, progressing the firm’s societal impact through work with charity, school and social enterprise partners across the UK. Deanna helps drive communications and marketing initiatives, building the profile of the firm’s flagship programme, One Million Futures, both internally and externally.