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Apprentice of the Year 2022 - Tarzina Khatum

13th Jul 2022

Nobody was more surprised than Tarzina to find herself working as an Level 3 Business Administration Apprentice for GW Consulting International, an Oxfordshire based risk and compliance specialist. She had always been drawn to the charity sector and had ambitions to work in human rights.

She saw an apprenticeship as a route to attaining a more senior position in her chosen field and saw an opportunity to use her skills and experience writing reports for charities in the research and analytical field – which is where GWCI came in!

She says: “I really enjoyed the interviews. Everyone was so kind and welcoming and I felt really comfortable. I had always known that my path was in the analytical and research field – I had always enjoyed writing essays and doing research.”

As well as English, Tarzina speaks Bengali, Hindi and Urdu and can read Arabic – useful skills to have for a global company such as GWCI.

Tarzina was accompanied by GWCI Chief Executive, Graham Welland, when accepting her Apprentice of the Year Award. He said: “We had realised that, due to the nature of the work, it would be difficult to find someone and we decided we wanted to train someone in-house over a year. It was a great opportunity to give someone of Tarzina’s age a job and an opportunity and she has given back many times over.

She is very literate and has a good analytical brain combined with good IT and communication skills. We send out reports all over the world and Tarzina has excelled in her role to the extent that we offered her a permanent position without hesitation.

To other businesses thinking of taking on an apprentice I would say that for us it has worked out extremely well. It took a lot of time and effort to find the right person that would fit into the team. We interviewed three people short-listed from ten and we grilled them quite hard with a lot of in-depth questions. It was certainly a challenge to the college, who had never delivered this type of apprenticeship before and it had to develop as it went along, but with great success. We are now trying to expand the business and have just won some very good contracts. I would say it is very likely indeed that we will be taking on more apprentices in the future.”

In Tarzina’s citation, Work-Based Learning Tutor, Graham Welland, said: “Tarzina stands out as an exceptional apprentice because of the courage she has found to overcome the extreme shyness that challenged her, in even the most unthreatening situations. She works for GWCI, who are risk and compliance specialists, which suits Tarzina's strengths and utilises her excellent research and report writing skills. Even though Tarzina has learned the skills required to do well in her role, her shyness and lack of confidence in her abilities created a real barrier for her to surmount. She has developed her own personal techniques to help herself, including thorough mental preparation before any meeting. Throughout her apprenticeship she has been unfailingly motivated and diligent, despite situations such as progress reviews, which would see her reduced to a state of high anxiety. Tarzina prepared meticulously for her end point assessment. However, on the day, she was so nervous she was shaking and was convinced that she hadn't performed well enough to pass; she achieved a distinction. Tarzina has been on a journey of self-discovery and it has been wonderful to see her gradually grow in confidence and start to believe in herself as a skilled and knowledgeable young woman who has so much to contribute.”

Tarzina is very clear that she can see her path forward at GWCI. To other young people searching for the route to their future career she says: “Choose the right people and the right company rather than what is set in your mind. If you do just that you will enjoy the experience much more than if you had stuck with your original plan.”

To find out more about how the College can help you as an employer or as someone looking for their next step go to our 'Apprenticeships' page.