Arham lives in Islamabad, Pakistan, and completed his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business (Marketing) and is now a teacher. He feels passionately about the benefits that BTEC qualifications can bring in terms of practical skills for the workplace.

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I completed my A levels in Pakistan, and then chose to do a BTEC qualification because they are well-reputed worldwide and involve hands-on experience. I faced criticism from some of my peers when I started to do BTEC, as the brand isn’t widely known in my country.

What were the key takeaways from your learning experience?

There is no doubt that Higher Nationals have helped me in my teaching career. Being an international qualification, it helped me to get wider exposure, which not only helped me in teaching, but also allowed me to understand prevailing issues in our global world.

Since HNs are assignment-based, the experience was more flexible; allowing me to study and complete the assignments in my own time. Furthermore, the HND coursework enabled me to understand the practical world in a better way, rather than just being stuck in books. The project work helped me better understand the importance of market research, and how to apply management skills within the workplace, which certainly come in useful as a teacher when you have lots on at one time.

Arham Ali Sultan

What lead you to become a teacher?

Growing up, I wanted to be a chef, but as I got older, I saw that it was quite hard to find work in the sector, even if you had the right qualifications. I therefore chose to become skilled in something that is tangible, and that I could see a long-term career in. I first became a teacher assistant, then progressed into an associate teacher role - this inspired me to complete my teacher training the following year as I enjoyed engaging with students on a day-to-day basis.

Changing perceptions

Here in my country, people are very conscious about their future, as there can often be high expectations and family pressures. Because of this, lots of individuals choose to do bachelor's and master's degrees from local universities, however unfortunately this doesn't always lead to a job. I think there is a lack of awareness; I want more individuals to be aware of the options available to them.

I believe the education system in Pakistan could be improved to ensure that our labour force is more productive. Instead of being focused on textbooks, there is a need to look more to practical work. There is therefore a huge potential for BTEC qualifications in Pakistan to fill the gap that our next generation needs. People want practical skills, but they don’t realise the option is available already. I'd love to help change that.