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Aspirational Zara in the running for young professional award

A Walsall teenager who has gone from apprentice to factory floor manager in just two years is a finalist for one of Birmingham’s most prestigious professional awards. Zara Fortt is in the running for Birmingham Young Professional of the Year’s (BYPY) Aspiring Talent award.

The 18-year-old studied a business administration apprenticeship at BMet.  She has been recognised for her progress as a learner and as someone representing the local manufacturing sector in BPS Birmingham Future’s annual awards, which celebrates its 17th year.

“I can’t believe I’m a finalist for an award that recognises the ones to watch in Birmingham, especially when it feels like I’m just getting started,” said Zara.  “I plan to enjoy the moment and use this recognition as a way to push myself even further.

“My career so far has very much been about learning about business by actually being in it.  My experiences have been everything.  I spend my days liaising with people aged from 16 to 60.  Not many graduates get to do this so early on in their careers so I feel I’m bringing something different to the table.”

BYPY recognises the stars of the city’s business and professional services and the Aspiring Talent award is for 16 to 24 year olds who are still in full-time education or training, embarking on a career in Birmingham’s business professional services sector.

Chris Rademacher, an assessor at BMet and one of Zara’s award nominators said: “Zara is the first apprentice to be shortlisted for this award so it’s an excellent endorsement of this career route.  She’s always shown promise and now being a finalist means she has an even bigger springboard from which to fulfil all her career ambitions.”

After leaving school at 16, Zara joined Form Fabrications Birmingham Ltd in Hockley, a sheet metal contractors set up by her grandfather in 1976.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia led to her struggling with her studies at school but with learning support from the college, she completed qualifications in customer service and team leading.  She is currently studying ICT.

Zara continued: “Five years from now, I want to have the qualifications and professional expertise to modernise the company.  I want it to be ready for the next generation of the family and the people that will work here so they can keep adding to our history.”

BYPY takes place on 18 May at the ICC in Birmingham, and will also recognise young professionals – aged under 35 – working across six sectors; Finance, HR, Legal, Marketing and Communications, Property and Construction, and Technology.  An ‘Inspiring Leader’ will also be recognised as someone who has shown unwavering commitment to the city, from across the professional services community.

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