When Gavin Cairns graduated as a chartered accountant in 2005, he could never have imagined what an interesting turn his career would take.
Growing up in Hangberg, he attended Hout Bay High School with accounting being one of his favourite subjects.
“I always wanted to be a doctor but changed my mind as I really enjoyed accounting,” he said.
After school his biggest challenge was to find funds to further his studies.
“My mother did not qualify for a study loan as she had no assets,” he said.
Gavin was then fortunate enough to be given financial assistance by the Lions Club of Hout Bay and it was no surprise when he decided to become a chartered accountant.
He was also the first person in his family to matriculate – making his mother very proud of him.
After graduation Gavin started a three-year internship (articles) at Mazars, a company specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and advisory services in South Africa.
For the next three years he proved himself a valuable asset to the company and was asked to stay on another year and moved to the company’s forensic services.
But having a full-time career did not stop Gavin from furthering his studies.
He went on to complete his honours degree via correspondence and is currently in his final year of completing his LLB degree.
“My biggest challenge so far is time, finding the time to study and complete assignments,” he said.
He says he would not have been able to do it without the support of his wife, Isobel, who he married in 2001.
“She is very supportive and really motivates me,” he said.
The couple has three children, Joel, 14, Kiara, 9 and Cara, 4.
But this is not the end of the study road for Gavin.
He plans to obtain a Master’s degree in tax and his dream is to have his own practice in Hout Bay.
He has since moved to Wynberg but is still actively involved with the community of Hangberg and his church.
Once his practice is up and running, Gavin plans to provide assistance and guidance to middle aged individuals who cannot afford to get an education.
“So much attention is given to the youth and people tend to overlook people that are older – my age group.
“There are many talented people here who cannot get assistance as they are not considered as youth,” he said.
Liz Huckle, Lions’ Club Hout Bay bursary director said they were very proud of Gavin and his achievements.
Earlier this year, the Lions Club touched base with former bursary graduates Phiweka Buka, Ikhaya Lethemba, Mbulelo Mthi, Joseph Duma, Louisa Mposelwa, Caitlin Delcarme, Lonwabo Magobo and Andisiwe Tyawana to hear their success stories.
“We know that the only way out of poverty is through education and as Lions we know that many of our young people come from indigent backgrounds and need a helping hand to get a foot on the tertiary education ladder.
“We are proud to say that all our graduate students are currently employed and are still grabbing every opportunity offered to continue to learn and grow,” Ms Huckle said.
She emphasised that the Lions Club would love to help more students but cannot do so alone.
She urged the community to get involved by means of donations or by giving their time and experience.
For more information, contact Ms Huckle at firstname.lastname@example.org