A YOUNG apprentice has won a trip to New York for her outstanding work.

Bola Lawal, 22, from Tilbury, is doing an Accountancy apprenticeship scheme, under the Leadership Through Sport & Business scheme. It aims to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds secure jobs with blue chip companies in the financial sector, across the UK.

Bola said: “I tried various ways to get work experience, I was willing to work for free and applied to various accounting practices locally but it was chucked back in my face because they didn’t want to give me a chance. Luckily, LTSB did.”

Initially placed with Berg Kaprow Lewis LLP (BKL) in Finchley, after completing her apprenticeship Bola networked at the LTSB Women in Finance Conference and now works as a Group Reporting Accountant at Santander UK’s head office in Euston.

Young people breaking into business claim they are struggling to get job opportunities even when they offer to work for free, it was claimed last night.

Bola wants to encourage other young people to join the programme and show the talent that big business often overlooks.

She said: “All the events, training and preparation that LTSB provided was so helpful, particularly in terms of public speaking – and controlling how quickly I speak when I’m nervous! It meant I felt I could make a difference straight away when I got my placement.

“If you’re looking for a programme that’s going to help you get a job, support you throughout and understand you as an individual, LTSB is perfect – they go above and beyond the call of duty.

“Without LTSB organising the Women in Finance event I wouldn’t have made connections with Santander. I left the event believing that I had the potential to become one of the leading women in the financial sector.”

This Thursday Bola is being recognised as one of LTSB’s apprentices of the year at Sackers LLP in Central London – with a prize of a once in a lifetime trip to New York City this summer.

She added: “After BKL, and now being at Santander – I’d like to go back to those places who wouldn’t give me a chance, and say ‘Look where I am now!’”

As part of the LTSB scheme, Bola completed AAT Levels 2 and 3 through the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and that academic grounding was essential in terms of her practical ability in the job.

As one of her managers, Stuart Batkins, Director of Client Services at BKL says: “Her work was of the highest level I’ve ever seen from a junior accountant, just starting their career – we could do with more Bolas!”

David Pinchin launched LTSB in 2011 after a successful career in the city where he co-founded brokers Tradition Financial Services in 1985.

He said: “Bola is an amazing young woman who should be extremely proud of her achievements – she’s a great example of the talent and drive that can too often be overlooked, leading to a cycle of underemployment.