If you are at the beginning of your AAT career you may not have considered becoming a tutor and teaching the next generation of students.
However, becoming a tutor with AAT is a very rewarding and flexible career path which you can combine with working in industry and fit around family and other commitments.
Tutoring is a very exciting job, as you are mentoring and helping students to become the best they can be and achieve their AAT qualifications. It would appeal to someone with great communication skills, personality, passion for their subject and lots of drive.
Even if you are currently a student, if you are interested in developing your tutoring skills in the future it is worth mentioning it to your own tutor so that they can help you think about the next step in your career.
What are the benefits of becoming a tutor?
Becoming an AAT tutor opens up lots of avenues to develop your career and skills. Not just training and teaching, but also assessing, writing course materials and contributing to course content and structure.
Angela Renshaw, programme manager, accountancy at The Apprentice Academy has been managing and delivering AAT qualifications across all levels for the last 14 years.
“Being a specialist in apprenticeships means that I have had a big involvement in designing and implementing the new apprenticeship standard for both providers and employers in a way that meets their needs,” she says. In 2016 she won AAT Training Provider of the Year (Small) award and in 2019 she led her current employer to win the AAT Apprenticeship Training Provider of the Year award.
She is also an author for an AAT publisher and writes study materials, lecturers’ resources and sample assessments across all levels of AAT. In addition, she is an Independent Assessor and an External Quality Assurer.
“I really enjoy writing the course materials. The AAT course is changing in September 2022 and I am redesigning our course, evaluating what works and building something new,” she says.
What is the best part of the job?
“I am a true believer of delivering a personal service to each of my students to ensure that they not only enjoy their learning experience, but that they continue to strive to be the best at what they do,” she says.
“The benefits of being an AAT tutor are how rewarding is to see those students on that journey. No day is the same. The standards change, the rules change. There’s always something to learn.
“I used to work in a small accountancy practice and I did progress quite quickly, but being quite young, I was just 21, I wanted to work with younger people. I had always wanted to be a maths tutor.
I passed a sign that said: “Do you have AAT level 4?” and I went in and it was my dream job – becoming a tutor. It was only a small provider with very few learners but I had a good mentor and I became a programme manager at that centre. I took them to winning Small Training Provider of the Year 2016. “Then I began to recruit tutors, and I recruited most of them from industry because they are really enthusiastic and looking for a change.”
“Being part of that journey with the learner is what I find the most satisfying about the role,” says Andy Flanagan AAT tutor the Apprentice Academy.
How flexible is the job as an AAT tutor?
“I do accountancy work in the background,” says Angela Renshaw. “I think that’s the key. It’s flexible. The use of technology massively changed the way that we teach. No longer do you have to be in the classroom.
“It’s a very flexible job, especially following COVID. We are doing a lot more blended learning and teaching from home. That has meant we need to train tutors how to teach online.”
What is the best way to recruit new tutors?
Upskill your own staff
“My top tip for recruiting tutors would be to be open minded to those that haven’t taught before. It’s always better to home grow your talent,” says Angela Renshaw.
Look for good communication skills, approachability and passion
“The biggest thing for me is personality because you need to be able to communicate with people on all levels,” she says.
“Making sure that they’re really friendly and approachable to make the learning journey as easy as possible,” says Victoria Mitchell, AAT tutor at The Apprentice Academy. “Helping people to achieve the goals they set out to do is amazing.”
“The qualities of a good tutor are somebody that’s adaptable and can speak to people on different levels,” says Angela Renshaw. “You need to be able to break information down in a way that can be understood for an apprentice on Level 2. You also need to be adaptable to different people’s personalities and learning styles. It’s about working with people not against them.”
Industry knowledge helps but AAT knowledge is key
“You need passion and to be enthusiastic about what you do,” says Phil Toomer MAAT, AAT Tutor for distance learning at First Intuition. “You need the technical ability. You need to understand the AAT process and the AAT units and what’s involved in each one, so you can relate that to your students. My first student that I taught at Level 2 I am now seeing them become a Level 4 qualified.”
“When hiring staff, look for industry experience – that makes a massive difference on the students outlook on you,” says Angela Renshaw. “It is useful to combine being a tutor with practising as an accountant because you can relate to real life situations. That’s why I would always look to recruit people that have worked in industry or have had some experience or working in practice.”
“Look for that background knowledge and AAT qualifications as well,” says Victoria Mitchell.
Consider recruiting from your student base
“Recruiting from your own student base actually gives you a really good advantage,” says Nick Craggs, AAT Distance Learning Director at First Intuition.
“It’s such a broad qualification you get experience of teaching management accounting, finance accounting and tax,” he says. “It’s quite challenging, but it’s good fun.”
Angela Renshaw says that she has a coach on her team who was one of her original students.
“That is definitely a route I would recommend,” she says. “They’ve been taught your way and they understand your explanations and resources and how you work. Rather than looking at someone’s CV and they are saying that they are technically confident, you can actually see how good they are as you are teaching them. I definitely think it’s the way forward into recruitment, Go and see what it’s about because it is definitely a rewarding job, she says. “You will be surprised what you are capable of.”
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Marianne Curphey is an award-winning financial writer and columnist, and author of the book How Money Works. She worked as City Editor at The Guardian, deputy editor of Guardian online, and has worked for The Times, Telegraph and BBC.