Hello, I Am Rukhsar
Rukhsar's journey exemplifies determination, drive, and a passion for making a difference. She was met with several barriers when completing her A Levels and GCSEs. Firstly, she attended an all-girls secondary and sixth form in Waltham Forest in one of the 20% most deprived areas in England and due to this, had limited resources and hindered teaching quality. In addition, to combat the funding issues the school had plans to become an Academy, but this was met with opposition from the teachers, leading to frequent strikes that further impacted her educational journey. However, when she did receive support from teachers it was that university was the best and only path. Due to the above, Rukhsar had little to no support in her academic studies and very little career guidance in what she could do with her future aspirations coupled with the loss of both grandparents in proximity right before her examinations, she now knew she had to not only show incredible emotional resilience in dealing with the loss of family but put in more work than the average student to achieve good grades. She was able to push through all of this, achieving exceeding average GCSEs and A-Level grades. Rukhsar knew the next step of her journey was to enter the world of work as taking out an interest-bearing loan was not an option due to her faith. Inspired by her brother's success with an intermediate engineering apprenticeship, Rukhsar sought to follow his footsteps in the Finance category. She applied to the highest level of apprenticeship available, the Level 7 Chartered Institute of Management Accounting apprenticeship. This was a courageous move, given that her family and friends were focused on their own careers and university, while her school pushed for Oxbridge applications. Despite these things going against her, Rukhsar's love for Economics, and her desire to make a change as a Muslim Indian woman in Finance, a face that she feels is still not recognised or highlighted as much in this world, drove her to pursue this career. Fast forwarding 4 years from Sixth form, Rukhsar has made ground-breaking impacts within the Finance industry where she’s become the first apprentice to be offered a permanent role at EE, a year before the scheme is scheduled to end. This highlights her dedication and excellence in her work and demonstrates the value that she brings to the company. Furthermore, working closely with the community to show what students from deprived boroughs like Waltham Forest can achieve is her driving force. Rukhsar's journey serves as a powerful reminder that you can make a difference and achieve your goals. She is an inspiration to all those who aspire to break free from the norm and create their own path to success. With her exceptional skills and relentless commitment to excellence, Rukhsar is poised to continue making an impact in the world of Finance.
Tell us more about your experience
What are your interests outside of work?
I enjoy photography and editing so often find myself exploring and always taking pictures
Can you describe your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Rukhsar has been instrumental in driving innovation at the forefront of her team, despite not having prior experience with the specific financial system, she created an automated dashboard that summarizes the entire financial information system and provides visual graphs that are easily interpreted by senior team members to drive strategic conversations across BT Group. This dashboard has been received by hundreds across BT Group generating unique offers further highlighting the impact of her work. On a day-to-day basis, I complete the weekly trading of TV & Sport reporting sales, and value this generates for the company against our targets. Among the cost-of-living crisis, this has been a challenge to achieve our targets, but I have been able to drive the best performance possible using financial analysis to understand this best and use this understanding to lead the next quarterly plan. Further to this, I carry out business partnering supporting a wide variety of teams across BT and drive business cases and reviews of offers ran to understand key learning to perform even better.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Rukhsar has helped BT Group commit to a deeper purpose within the Diversity & Inclusion space through her work as Senior Communications Lead for BT’s Muslim Network (BTMN). She has led companywide campaigns such as Ramadan, Eid and Islamophobia Awareness Month, campaign videos mitigating stereotypes, social media posts that gained traction from the CEO of BT Business and winning the ‘Steps for SAF’ charity appeal. This has helped the BTMN reach a record-breaking 800+ Global members. A key highlight for Rukhsar was sharing the platform with Managing Director, Global CIO – Hena Jalil in BTMN’s ‘Hijab Campaign’, a topic to highlight the clothing’s significance which reflects Rukhsar’s characters and values as a proud hijab-wearing Muslim. She even represented on World Hijab Day on the ‘lifeatbtgroup’ social media serving as an inspiration to many Muslim Female colleagues and allies across BT Group. Rukhsar gives back by supporting the next generation of apprentices where she has been invited by underprivileged boroughs to deliver speeches to schools for girls. This is an exceptional demonstration of her dedication to making a lasting impact on the communities and areas which matter most to her. Rukhsar has also been nominated as a finalist for the Accounting & Finance Apprentice of the year for the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards 2023.
What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The biggest challenge of Rukhsar's career has been balancing the various areas that she would like to be involved in. An example of this is where Rukhsar proved to be a crucial asset to BT Group’s Finance Division where she’s driven the transformation of the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure by reporting and auditing depleting copper phone lines. She has also driven HMRC's "Making Tax Digital" legislation and correctly inputs £50m of transactions which factors into BT Groups Quarterly Financial Report to provide a more accurate CAPEX figure (Capital Expenditure) to global markets. More recently, Rukhsar has also supported the smooth trading of BT’s multi-billion valued TV and Sport Enterprise by driving successful commercial decisions to combat the cost-of-living crisis. Her business-partnering focused role allows her to funnel her aspirations to make TV more accessible to lower-income households and continue driving BT's profitability. Rukhsar has truly made a remarkable impact on her employer from all angles which serves as a benchmark to younger apprentices to follow and be inspired by. Due to the various projects Rukhsar has been involved in, she believes she would like to give back more to society than she has been able to so far in terms of promoting apprenticeships, especially to underprivileged communities.
What sort of support network do you have at your company?
I have a strong support network made up of my supportive team, fellow apprentices and apprenticeship lead who are always there to support whenever required. BT Group have a great arena for apprentices, and I would highly recommend BT as an employer for apprentices.
What will happen at the end of your apprenticeship and have you discussed this with your employer?
Yes, I have been offered a permanent role in my current team a whole 12-month rotation prior to the assimilation of my apprenticeship. Therefore, I am continuing my exams within my current team and will roll off onto a permanent Finance Professional role. After completing this role, my employer has already discussed plans to move onto a higher-grade role i.e., a Finance Manager role so the extra responsibilities I take on now, above an apprentice is expected to take, will allow me to easily transition into a Finance Manager role.
What would be your words of advice to someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?
The best advice I can give to anyone considering an apprenticeship is take the plunge, be confident, give it your best and just apply! Never be afraid to ask questions about what apprenticeships are to soak up as much information as possible. 4 years on from starting my apprenticeship, I can confidently say that it has transformed me from a student into a young woman. This can be your powerful reminder that you can make a difference and achieve your goals. An apprenticeship can allow you to become an inspiration to all those who aspire to break free from the norm and create their own path to success.