With the Training Provider Conference 2020 fast approaching, we met with Tutor of the Year 2019, Karen Walker to find out what makes a great AAT tutor.
I’ve been teaching for 15 years and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I began as a student on an AAT course in 2002, and now teach all units for AAT Levels 2, 3 and 4. It’s a really lovely environment to be in. The students are hard-working and dedicated.
What do you do differently as an AAT tutor?
Some of our learners are returning to work after having a family, or wish to change career. This can be an anxious time.
The environment and course flexibility we offer at Abingdon and Witney College enable our students to be successful and confident. They soon realise their full potential to become the best they can be and strive for distinctions.
We have great contacts and opportunities for students that want to gain work experience, especially if they’re unsure if they want to work in industry or in practice.
We advertise jobs internally in the classroom and students have contacts too. Student Services at the college is brilliant and will help them with CV writing and interview prep to make sure they’re really ready to apply.
What makes you stand out?
I love to teach, and work with students to ensure they understand, not only the concepts but practical applications as well. This means they go into a work situation confident that they can apply their new skills.
I feel like I’m giving something back through teaching. I’m really motivated and the learners are too.
What are your main goals with students?
To provide an enjoyable and challenging environment with excellent support and motivation.
It can be an emotional time when they finish. We hold an awards ceremony every year for all AAT students; this will be the 10th year we’ve done it and this year we’ll have 120 attendeees.
Some will be celebrating their first-ever academic qualification.
We take lots of pictures and make them feel really special which is how I want them to feel.
I keep in touch with so many of them and they come back to do inspirational talks to the current learners so that they can see the success that the qualifications can give you.
What do you think makes a great tutor and training provider?
Giving a lot of support. In education, what makes all the difference is looking at each individual. It’s easy to teach a subject but students have so many other things happening, especially adult learners. They work and have their own families so it’s knowing what they have going on outside of the classroom and supporting them through that too. They really thrive with kindness and understanding.
Most students are going to be studying over the weekend, particularly if it’s before an exam, so they want reassurance that they can speak to someone if they need to.
We have a virtual learning platform (The Hub), which students can access 24/7 and I also provide students with support face-to-face or by email as they often have questions. We give 1-2-1 tutorials on a regular basis, some have more than others depending on their needs.
We have lots of varied courses (daytime and evening) so if they’ve missed a session they can come in to catch up or for an extra session.
They do the course because they really want the qualification. We also offer blended learning (on-campus and online) which started in the last couple of years. We listen to students and what they want and make the changes.
What do you love about the AAT Training Provider conference?
I love the interactive workshops they put together and it’s amazing for networking.
You can talk about the changes you’ve made and the new things you’ve done. It’s great to get some new knowledge too, especially when there have been changes and you’ve got that chance for a two-way conversation so you can ask questions.
It’s a great time to celebrate everyone’s hard work and dedication to the AAT qualification.
The AAT Training Provider Conference
The AAT Training Provider Conference 2020 provides a great opportunity for training providers, apprentices and students to get involved in their AAT community. And most importantly, reward yourself for your year so far.
At this year’s conference, on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th June in Stratford-upon-Avon, we’ll be hosting talks from a range of speakers, and will also be giving you an insight into AQ2021, and how you can deliver this exciting new syllabus.
Further reading on AAT tutors leading the way;
Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.