Ola pulled the covers back over his shoulders and snuggled deeper into the bed.
This was his first winter in England and the cold seemed to bite into his bones. From his duvet he tugged aside the damp curtain and shivered at the condensation running down the glass.
But he knew he had to get to the training centre. He couldn’t let his people down. The whole family had saved up to give him the opportunity to come to London and take not just a bookkeeping course but a Pitman Training Accounting Technician Diploma course!
His Auntie Nala had settled in the UK some years ago and it was she who had told him about a friend who had taken just such a bookkeeping course and had landed an important job in a company actually importing stuff from back home. Imagine!
Ola had been 13 years old when he listened to Nala’s tale, wide-eyed and from that moment set his heart on learning to be a bookkeeper. Luckily his father and mother and his elder brother were equally enthused by Auntie’s friend’s story and the whole family as well as all Ola’s uncles and other aunties set to finding the money to send the boy overseas when he was old enough.
Now he was 19 and although he was lonely and found England rather strange, he was doing well with his studies and expected to have earned his diploma by March.
After that, he would seek a job in the accounting field even though he was worried that his timing was poor – a deep recession was rocking the economy and it seemed that jobs were hard to find.
A tepid shower and a quick breakfast of porridge, which was a bit like his breakfast at home, but only a bit, he boarded the red London bus to Pitman Training in Holborn.
There were so many buses in London! He could take any number of routes and they would all stop outside the training centre!
Ola loved the centre because the training team made such a fuss of him and also it was warm, so he often stayed all day, from 9:00 in the morning till they locked up at 8:00 pm, frequently repeating every chapter of every bookkeeping course in his diploma programme. It was no wonder he had passed each exam so far with distinction!
Today he was to tackle Microsoft Excel for the first time and he felt a little tingle of excitement at the thought that not even his father would know how to use such a powerful business tool. Nor would his old teacher, Mr Abedoye. How proud the old man would have been if he was still with us.
About half an hour into the lesson he decided to take a break and sat in reception to read a free newspaper.
One of his favourite trainers, Anna, came to sit beside him and told him about a job vacancy that had just been emailed in to the centre.
It seemed that from time to time, employers would email vacancies to the centre for distribution to the students and one had just been received for a trainee bookkeeper who had completed a Sage Line 50 course.
Although Anna said it was a bit early in his development to expect to win the job, it would be good for him to apply and if the chance arrived, to go for an interview.
Ola’s heart leapt and at once he felt excitement and panic as he had never encountered such an opportunity before and wasn’t quite sure how to progress it.
He asked Anna to help him and before he knew it, he had been summoned for interview!
He put on his best clothes (he wished he owned a suit) and went to meet the employer, Mr Smith.
Ola had never been so nervous in his life, even when he had taken his exams at school!
But he needn’t have worried. As soon as Mr Smith saw that he had taken a bookkeeping course with Pitman Training, he was hired on temporary basis to give him the chance to prove himself.
Now Ola’s only fear was that he might not be able to complete his Accounting Technician studies but the trainers told him not to worry. Lots of their students get jobs and simply reduce their study hours or days. That’s why Saturdays are so popular with the students.
Everything was falling in to place and Ola emailed his father the good news. He could imagine the celebrations back home. They would be so pleased!
And the following Monday, Ola embarked on the first step of a long and successful bookkeeping career.
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