Posted: 26 Jul. 2019 2 min. read

It's hard to be what you can't see

Please note: the original article was written by Hafsa Akmal.

Deloitte’s ASPIRE programme recently welcomed 200 year 12 and 13 students from low socio-economic backgrounds into five Deloitte offices across the UK, where they gained an invaluable insight into life at Deloitte. Hafsa Akmal, 17, was one of them…and here she explains why spending the first week of July at Deloitte in Birmingham was such a life-changing experience.

What was it like walking into an office for the first time? Well, I have to admit I was a bit nervous partly because I knew we were going to have to do a presentation to a group of professional people.

However, it was surprisingly different to what I expected. For a start, Deloitte was a lot friendlier than I thought – the atmosphere was warm, everyone was welcoming and the office was really modern. Also, there were people there from a range of different backgrounds. I had thought that only a certain type of person could work at a place like Deloitte, so I now have a better understanding of the diversity of the firm’s workforce.

The best part was being given problem solving tasks for specific clients. We were given spreadsheets and lots of different data, and we had to come up with a range of money saving solutions for the client so it was really hands-on.

Not many people get a chance to gain work experience at a big firm or to see what it is really like – and it was much better than I thought.

I had to apply for a place on ASPIRE by completing modules about myself and writing an essay about my motivation for taking part. Like four of the 30 other attendees on the Birmingham programme, I found out about ASPIRE because my school, Moseley School and Sixth Form is one of Deloitte’s One Million Futures partner schools.

Deloitte employees regularly volunteer in my school. Some Deloitte staff have been supporting in our Business A Level classes (I am studying Maths, Business and Psychology at A Level).

Attending ASPIRE has helped me to develop essential skills which will hopefully make it much easier for me when I apply to uni to study Maths. I now have something to write about on my applications and to talk about at interviews – such as creativity, team work and presentation skills.

We were also given a mentor who we can talk to over the coming year and some modules to work through. So, it’s been an amazing experience – and all this support has already helped to boost my confidence.

Who knows? Once I graduate, I might be able to join Deloitte. Thanks to ASPIRE I can now visualise myself working in a place like this.

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