Bonshad arrived in the UK less than 2 years before receiving his GCSE results, including a grade 9 in Maths. He now works in the Maths department as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA).
“When I arrived in the UK I didn’t have the correct permissions to work, and couldn’t continue with the Engineering and Business Administration degrees I was studying overseas,” says Bonshad. “I had no clue what GCSEs were, but understood I’d need them to further my career here.”
Initially aiming for pass grades, Bonshad’s Maths tutor Mike Hargreaves quickly saw that he had a talent – and encouraged him to aim higher, eventually earning a grade 9.
“I understood the concepts, but needed to work on the terminology and new language,” says Bonshad. “Mike helped me a lot with this.”
As well as scoring top marks in Maths, Bonshad passed GCSE English with a grade 5.
“The English I used in my enrolment paper definitely wasn’t at GCSE level. I understood English: I could read, write and speak it, but not at that level,” he says.
“My tutors gave me exercises and practice papers to work on at home – always focusing on what I needed to do to improve my skills in English, and move closer to perfection in Maths.
“So many members of staff, all across College, have helped me – I couldn’t do this by myself.”
It was during the exam period that Bonshad’s next career move materialised.
“I visited the adult Maths revision class one day and instead of doing his own revision, Bonshad was helping his fellow classmates – a natural teacher,” says Carly McManus, Head of Faculty for Maths. “We’d recently started advertising for a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) position in the Maths department, and Mike and I agreed Bonshad would be an excellent fit for the role.”
With the help of the Careers team, Bonshad polished and submitted his CV – and was offered the job.
An HLTA offers classroom support and develops a case load of students that may need an extra push or have fallen behind. They work 1:1 differently to how they work in class, and the HLTA tailors these sessions to the individual so they learn in a way that suits them.
“This encouraged me to apply for the position,” says Bonshad. “The tailored support was exactly what I was receiving, and it had helped me to succeed. I’ve already had my inspiration, so want to inspire others in this way!”
“Bonshad is already comfortable in what he does, he’s confident and has his own initiative. He’ll bring this to the classroom and motivate our students,” says Mike.
“Bonshad’s story is a true testament to ‘if you want something, you can get it’!” Carly adds.
Finally, Bonshad has some advice for anyone in a similar position:
“Getting these qualifications should be top of your priority list.
“When you’re in class, if you’re working you do what you can, and you get the results you get. All students have a decision to make, which is either to study hard now for an easier life later, or to take things easy in the present but expect a harder time ahead. The choice is ours, and we get to live with the results as well. This mindset absolutely worked for me.”