Jessica Leyland – AAT Student of the Year


Jessica (Jess) Leyland enrolled with Premier Training on 30/01/15 on the AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting and achieved her AAT Level 4 Diploma on 03/09/15. This means it took Jess a little over 7 months to complete and achieve these three levels. Whilst this in itself is a remarkable achievement, Jess has been an exemplar student and I would like to explain further why she, in particular, deserves recognition.

 

History: Jess had previously studied basic accounts through the Open University and managed to secure employment in a finance role on this basis. Her employer soon recognised that Jess had huge potential and would be a valuable asset to their business. Wanting Jess to have the right skills for the job, they agreed to invest in her development, choosing the AAT as the ideal way to do this, resulting in her subsequent enrolment at Premier Training. Furthermore, her employer also decided to develop and expand her job role at this point and despite these new responsibilities, she was able to combine her studies with the added pressure of further on the job training. However, Jess, recognising this huge opportunity, and due to the increased reliance on her by the business, applied herself almost full-time to her studies outside of work; in order to learn her subject well and achieve her goal of MAAT status in as short a time as possible and benefit her employer.

 

Jess returned her first assignment 6th February, and in total completed 64 Premier Training Assignments over the three levels. During this 7 month period, she also successfully gained competency in the 16 AAT Assessments and in her ICAS project.

 

We are happy to ‘fast track’ students where they show a significant aptitude for learning and, in Jess’s case, I was more than happy to accommodate this. As Jess’s Tutor, I soon noticed she was an exceptional student, however, for Jess this has never been about achieving a few lines on her CV. Both her employer and Jess recognised the AAT as the route that would equip her with the necessary skills they needed for their business as well as being beneficial for her career.
Jess showed incredible determination to succeed and there is not one aspect of her AAT journey that I can fault. I couldn’t be more proud of one of my students in her attitude and commitment towards learning. She applied herself 110%, always takingon board my feedback and advice; even slowing her pace (!) when I felt she was not understanding the subject to the required standard.

 

Jess continues to work for the same employer as Business Operations Manager (£2.5 million annual turnover). Jess oversees all financial and management accounting functions, involving monthly meetings with Directors and has recently worked closely with external accounting firms on the year end accounts.

 

I believe Jess’s journey with the AAT demonstrates how valuable the Diploma pathway can be, the opportunities it provides and how it can change lives. Jess is a fantastic example of this in everyday action. We are delighted to be able to nominate Jess and are incredibly proud of her achievement. Furthermore, I strongly believe highlighting Jess’s story would give students and business alike, confidence in the opportunities AAT can provide, and Jess would make a fantastic ambassador / role model in this respect.

 

I genuinely hope that her achievement can be recognised nationally, by awarding her the Student of the Year Award for 2016.

 

Since completion, Jess successfully applied for MAAT status, and describes her learning journey as one of the most valuable experiences she’s ever had which she enjoyed tremendously.

 

Peter Clarke
(AAT Course Tutor)