Bernardo Magalhaes had no idea what sort of career he wanted until he arrived to enrol at Telford College.
After taking time to learn about his background and interests, the team felt he was a perfect candidate for a career in accountancy and signed him up on a level two course.
It turned out to be the perfect choice. He moved onto level three the following year, and six years later, Bernardo returned to the college to take his qualifications to the next level.
“I was born in Porto, Portugal and moved to England when I was five, so I started primary without knowing a word of English, but thankfully I benefited from going through the school system in England,” he explained.
“I’ve lived in Telford the whole time I’ve been here and attended Lakeside Academy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do before I started at Telford College, but the staff helped me choose a course that suited me – and they were very right.
“I chose to study AAT level two, which is an accountancy qualification, back in 2015 and after my successful completion I decided to study level three at Telford College in the next academic year.
“After I finished college I went straight into work in an accounts payable department, but I knew after three years of working there that I wanted something more involved in the financial side of things.
“So I enrolled at Telford College once again to do level four, which was degree level and the final level of AAT.”
He added: “I don’t think I could have picked a better place to be honest – the tutors know and do what’s best for you and it worked out in my favour because I passed all my exams first time with great grades. just like the rest of the class.”
After achieving his level four qualification, Bernardo secured an internal move with his employer, to become a business finance analyst.
He is also now planning to move onto the ACCA qualification, which is the final step to becoming a fully qualified accountant.
He said: “Personally, university has never appealed to me and if you’re wanting to go down the accountancy route like I am, I’d always suggest finishing AAT and moving onto the next qualification of your choice.
“In this day and age, work experience is just as valuable as qualifications – maybe even more.
“For me, the key thing is to find an employer that is willing to invest in you and give you the exposure that you need to succeed within the world of finance.”
Telford College tutor Kirsty Evans said: “Bernardo has worked so hard, and his journey is exemplary. It is a perfect illustration of the sort of opportunities which our AAT qualifications can open up for students.”