How my AAT Tutor made a real difference

AAT tutors make a real difference to the lives of their students, whether they are school leavers, career changers or mature students. Tutors give support, guidance and enthusiasm to help you kickstart your accountancy career.

“My AAT training overall has been an enjoyable experience, being able to have the flexibility and a myriad of support avenues has made the whole qualification process simple and stress-free,” says George Moss,
Practice Manager at Bee Motion Accounting Ltd in Stockport. 

Building key foundations

“AAT training has not only given me the piece of paper to do my job, but the knowledge to succeed in my industry. This was reflected in my success during the Sage Impact awards 2021, winning “apprentice of the year” followed by being a “rising star” finalist at the Accounting Excellence awards 2021. This out of the box thinking, questioning mindset and overall exposure to accounting given throughout my training enables me to hit the ground running.”

He says he would 100% recommend AAT whether you are a school leaver searching for a profession or someone later in life seeking a career change. “It is suitable for everyone. The vast number of opportunities that are made available to you following the completion of your training is limitless.”

George studied at The Apprenticeship Academy under the team led by Angela Renshaw, programme Manager- Accountancy.

“The team really go above and beyond to ensure that all content is understood, leaving you filled with confidence ahead of your exam dates,” he says. “The layered resources available, which include the AAT lifelong learning portal, resolved all issues when tackling any pesky topics. The approach taken by the Apprentice Academy helped prepare me not only for my exams, but for the industry, all the tutors were able to interpret the content of the course giving me a deeper understanding of each topic.”

Seeing students succeed

“The best part of the job is the satisfaction of seeing students succeed,” says Angela Renshaw, programme manager, accountancy at The Apprentice Academy. She has been managing and delivering AAT qualifications across all levels for the last 14 years.

“We work predominantly with apprentices and as a tutor you go from seeing a 16 to 18 year old going into their first job, really shy, never had a job before, and see the process of them turning into a new adult.

“It is also rewarding to help those learners that struggle. If you get somebody that struggles, and they pass their AAT qualification, that is just a great sense of achievement. When learners are young they are trying to manage work and study at the same time. You are a bit like a life coach as you’re trying to help them with their time management and keep them on track.”

“I left my old job and then started a new one and Angela was really helpful for that because I had a bit of trouble with my fees,” says Rebecca Kinsey AAT student at The Apprentice Academy. “She helped me through it and managed to get it sorted so that was a big relief.”

“Working with Angela and having her at the Academy is a massive benefit for any student that comes here,” says Jodie Buc, a fellow student at The Apprentice Academy.

Sam Hannigan is programme manager at Premier Training and says being an AAT tutor fitted in with her lifestyle and bringing up her children.

“Fifteen years on I still love teaching and I love teaching AAT,” she says. “It is important to me now to make sure that I motivate others and support others like I was supported. My career is just going from strength to strength.”

Enthusiasm and support for your students is key

“To be a good tutor you need passion and to be enthusiastic about what you do,” says Phil Toomer MAAT, AAT Tutor for distance learning at First Intuition. “Originally, I was planning a career change to qualify as an accountant and do other people’s books. I wanted to cut down the overtime hours in my previous job, which was in a printing factory, working with Camelot, producing scratch cards, where I had been working for 18 years.

“I became interested in tutoring when I was doing AAt Level Two and I joined a small Facebook group with fellow students. We got to know each other and I found that I was helping the other students even on Level Four questions because I’ve always enjoyed numeracy and found it interesting.”

After becoming Level Four qualified Phil decided to become a tutor, and loves the challenge and variety of the role, as well as the rewards of seeing students progress and qualify.

“Each day is different,” he says. “I get a lot of emails and I have a lot of papers for marking but I also get a lot of phone calls from students asking for help with questions. That could be from any student on any unit on any qualification. So I really do have to prepare and be able to be flexible. I go to at conferences and meet other tutors and we’ve just started meeting up again once a month.

“Sometimes I get students who are upset, perhaps who have sat an exam and it has not gone well. It’s important for me to give everybody my full attention and make sure that they’re listened to, whether it is a technical question or just a bit of support.

“One of my students refers to me as her teacher and her life counsellor. Particularly in Covid it was important to be supportive because many of the students were lonely and I might be the only person that they had spoken to that week. An important part of my job is being a point of contact.”

Advice for potential new tutors

“For other tutors, I would say that you have to be really invested in your students. They’re not just a number. I really love my job. It’s really rewarding when you help somebody on their career journey. It’s great when you can see them qualify. I’ve seen students go from AAT Level Two to Level Three and Level Four and then receive letters from them at the end.

“I used to be quite a shy person but now it’s really great to get the feedback from the students and know that you spent 20 minutes on a phone call and you have made a difference.

“The highlights are that I was shortlisted in 2019 for AAT Tutor of the Year and I was absolutely thrilled to make the shortlist. You have to have the right kind of attitude to be a successful tutor: enthusiastic and interested in people and wanting to support them.”

AAT played a key role in my career growth

Stefan Barrett, founder of Bee Motion accounting, says the AAT and everyone at The Apprenticeship Academy has played a key role in the growth and development of Bee Motion.

“We are big advocates of employing generation Zs, providing opportunities within the local community to help kickstart people’s professions,” he says.

“The AAT qualifications enable our present team, and those of the future to understand the all-important skills required to thrive in the industry. As we watch our team progress with their studies at the AAT, it helps consolidate their knowledge enabling their work to come on leaps & bounds.

“The development within the AAT course over the previous years has truly benefited Bee Motion, the fundamentals of accounting incorporated within the course help our team to become professionals by developing the important characteristics required for our industry.”

Further reading:

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.

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