Katie’s journey to AAT success and a Student of the Year award

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Katie Robinson - AAT Student of the Year

Katie’s journey to AAT success and a Student of the Year award

Katie’s journey as a distance learning student is truly exceptional. And AAT thought so too.

Her outstanding academic performance, unwavering determination, and dedication to her studies are just a few of the qualities that set her apart.

After gaining her A levels, Katie opted against continuing her education at university and started working in an administrative role.

“I feel that I took my A Levels because I should do them rather than part of a grand plan… no career path felt right”

By 2018, Katie was working as a Stock Administrator. After two people left the Accounts team, her boss asked her if she would like to take on some additional responsibility – mostly costing work because that tied in with her main job.

After her boss suggested that she study AAT, Katie enrolled on Level 2 Accounting with a distance learning provider – Training Link.

Katie took to her accounting studies with gusto and she was on target to take her final Level 2 exam in January 2020.

But life had other plans.

Life can change in the blink of an eye

On the 23rd of November 2019, just one week before her penultimate level 2 exam – Katie’s life changed forever. Her father, recently retired, was taken seriously ill following a rare type of stroke.

In the blink of an eye, she’d gone from revising for her penultimate exam to trying to comprehend medical jargon and tackle the three-hour round trips to a specialist hospital.

Family, understandably, came first;

“He had been my biggest cheerleader and I was going to return the favour by being there for as much of his care and therapy as possible.”

Katie balanced her studies with an increasingly difficult family situation. In March 2020, after his condition worsened, Katie’s father was placed in a nursing home.

“I felt very much in limbo during this time as I had no idea when I could sit an exam and was not able to see my father due to the visiting restrictions for care homes. Nevertheless, I eventually passed AAT Level 2 with an overall mark of 98% Distinction in August 2020. That same week, I was also approved by the Court of Protection to be my father’s financial deputy (as he had lost capacity before a Power of Attorney could be put in place).”

The following year, Katie began to get her father’s affairs in order by submitting annual reports to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).

“I had to think like a bookkeeper/accountant and keep accurate financial records and record why certain decisions had been made.”

This spurred Katie to think for the first time that she should make a complete career change from administration to accounting.

“Having seen my father struck down having barely reached retirement, I wanted to make the most of my working life.”

With her father’s health still poor, Katie no longer wanted to feel like her life was on hold and believed that finding a new job would be a step towards accepting the situation and acknowledging that life moves forward.

In at the deep end

By April 2022, Katie started a new job working as an Accounts Assistant and was thrown straight in at the deep end. But this only helped Katie to learn even more quickly and soon she was not just logging purchase invoices and reconciling the bank, but was also processing month-end journals, putting together cash forecasts, and liaising with customers and suppliers worldwide.

“My experiences of fighting my father’s financial battles meant I was more effective in getting results with customers and suppliers if we had invoice queries or were chasing payments.”

She made a promise to her new manager to continue with her AAT studies and the following September she enrolled on the newly launched Q2022 syllabus for the level 3 accounting qualification.

She continued to excel.

“Just over 12 months after signing up, I was awarded an overall mark of 90% Distinction, having indeed passed all four exams the first time.”

Katie’s journey as a distance learning student is a testament to her academic excellence, unwavering determination, and adaptability. She didn’t just overcome adversity; she used it as a stepping stone to a new career and personal growth. She acts as a reminder that with dedication and a positive attitude, you can achieve greatness even in the face of adversity.

That’s why everyone at Training Link is delighted to see Katie’s incredible effort recognised at the AAT Awards where she won AAT Student of the Year. Katie’s journey continues and she has now started her Level 4 studies.

Training Link's Gary Hupston, with AAT Student of the Year winner, Katie Robinson.

Smile for the camera! Katie celebrates with Training Link’s Gary Hupston, as AAT CEO – Sarah Beale, takes a picture

A message from Katie

Following her triumph at the AAT Awards, Katie posted the following message on our Facebook Group – Student Street.

“To those of you who have had unplanned life events get in the way of your studies, to those who have hit a rough patch in their studies and feel too overwhelmed, to those who are struggling to see the point of their studies for whatever reason – this is your sign to *never* give up.

This award is as much for you as it is for me.

You become a stronger and better person for dealing with the setbacks. If the qualification and the career is what you really want, it will eventually find its way to you. If that means taking a break from your studies or your job search, so be it. Sometimes it’s just a case of a few days or weeks to give yourself time to see things with fresh eyes, sometimes you need longer to deal with whatever life has thrown at you (2 years in my case!) Things will happen when they are supposed to, it may mean right now that you are ahead of whatever plan life has for you and it just needs some time to recalibrate.

It does also mean that when the good times eventually do happen – such as receiving this unexpected beauty last night – they are a lot sweeter.

It was lovely to meet some of the Training Link team last night and put faces to names I have been dealing with on and off for nearly 5 years. It reaffirmed that I had made the right decision to study with Training Link throughout my AAT studies. I probably don’t get the grades that I have without the resources and gentle encouragement I’ve had along the way. Thank you for recognising that, despite the distinctions at Level 2 and Level 3, it wasn’t the full story.

And we all have our own stories as to why we started our studies and where we have got to where we are currently at. Any setbacks just add to your already unique study experience. It’s why we shouldn’t give up when it seems like the easiest option.

You’ve got this!”

AAT Student of the Year award

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