Date posted: 15/12/2017 5 min read

Scholarship winner keen to make a difference

Accounting student Isaac Hughes believes education is the first step to making a better world and wants to make a difference as a Chartered Accountant.

In brief

  • Accounting student Isaac Hughes is the first recipient of the Craig Norgate Memorial Scholarship
  • Isaac believes education is the key to creating a positive difference in the world
Isaac Hughes, Craig Norgate Memorial scholarship winner
Isaac Hughes

As a child of two teachers, it is unsurprising that Isaac Hughes believes in the power of education. What is surprising is that he only had the chance to attend formal schooling for two years of his life.

“Then I started home schooling again for the rest of my life … from nine through to 18.”

Isaac describes his parents as “quite fundamentalist Christians” and says their decision to home school was based on religious concerns.

“I think they were just a bit worried that we’d get led astray at school.”

While studying for his high school qualification by correspondence, Isaac began considering his future and decided to become an accountant.

“I enjoy numbers and I enjoy the analysis side of it so I thought that would be a good track to go down.”

Isaac’s parents were ‘actively against’ him attending a tertiary campus, so at 18 he left home and moved in with a family friend in Gisborne to start his Bachelor of Business degree.

"The biggest way to change your life is through education."
Isaac Hughes, inaugural recipient of the Craig Norgate Memorial Scholarship

While he studied, he worked part time at Coates Associates as an auditor, moving to full time upon graduation. He is set to complete the CA Program by the end of 2018.

In April this year, Isaac was awarded the inaugural Craig Norgate Memorial Scholarship by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. The scholarship was created in memory of a respected Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand leader and provides financial assistance to talented aspiring Chartered Accountants.

Despite his unconventional schooling, Isaac says that education is key to making the most of your life, and of giving back to your community. “The biggest way to change your life is through education, both in earning capacity and the knowledge base that you gain.”

“I feel like without knowledge, without money, I’m limited in my ability to help other people. If I work at a minimum wage job for the rest of my life, that’s all I can really give.” Isaac plans to use his education and altruistic attitude to help stamp out fraud in not-for-profit organisations.

“Going into not-for-profit organisations and finding fraud and prosecuting fraud has tangible effects on people. People’s money is going astray, money that’s meant to help disadvantaged people. That’s something that really gets me motivated.”

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