"At the end of the day, it's all about the people!" | An Interview with PQ Award winner and ACCA tutor, Caron Betts

By Holly Maunders on 20-Feb-2018 11:18:39

Last year was hugely successful for AVADO’s ACCA team, concluding with a Gold award for ‘Best Online Distance Learning Programme’ at the Learning Technology Awards!

Without our fantastic tutors and others behind the scenes, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

ACCA Tutor (and 3rd dan blackbelt holder) Caron Betts, shares a bit about how she came to AVADO, her recent PQ Award win, and why ACCA is such a fantastic association to study with.

Caron_Betts.jpg

Quite a year for ACCA, Caron! Let’s look back on how we got here. To start with, could you give us a quick rundown of your career before coming to AVADO?

Certainly! I left school and took a less traditional route by completely a BTEC in Business Studies at a local accountancy practise. This led to hearing all about ACCA qualification and, as they sponsored my studies, and sounded right up my street, that’s what I did next.

I’ve worked in a few different accountancy firms, getting a fantastic grounding in every aspect of accountancy from tax compliance to business planning. A chance opportunity to teach accountancy at The University of East Anglia, and I realised what I was destined to do – become a tutor. A decade in the classroom later, another exciting opportunity and I moved into the wonderful world of online learning with AVADO!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Honestly…I love building the courses and getting to play with the creative part of my brain. It’s more than that though as it means I get to combine the technical accounting skills with the fun of presenting and designing a great learning experience. Plus, the job allows me to support and speak with our students as often as they want. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people and I love to chat!

Do you have any favourite student stories?

Oh lots. One that particularly stands out was an incredibly dedicated woman who was working through her F4, F5 and F6 with us. She did every question, attended all the live classes and was incredibly hard-working. Once a week she would then send me her ‘I have a doubt’ email.

We’d then work through things together and I discovered she wanted to know that bit more to help her career. It was a higher level of student engagement – she was not afraid to ask for help, to help herself. This is someone who truly understands what ACCA can do to support their career. ACCA isn’t just about passing the exam, it’s about driving forward with the mentality: “The better I can be, the better my career will be”. Those are the students where I’m like “Wow, I’m doing my job well”.

Speaking of stories, I hear you’ve just won a PQ Award for Best Use of Social Media! Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Sure! I started writing a blog in September called the “ACCA exam countdown” and, basically, I was trying to share how the everyday life things that happen to me can be related back to helping a student. The stories involved many things such as: buying a garden shed, going to the opticians and even watching my young relatives play with Lego! Lionel Messi gets a mention in one week.

It may seem quite odd, but the inspiration came to me –because I was trying to find a more engaging way to help students understand how to study better.

Why did you decide to create that content series?

I was a late starter when it came to social media, but I’ve always noticed the positive impact it can have on people’s lives. I love an analogy and I just thought that, by sharing anecdotes on social media, it may resonate with people in different way. Students say they always “remember the stories” I told in the class, and that they “still remember them now”.

What do you think makes a good tutor, in ACCA or anything else?

In no particular order…

  1. You’ve got to know you subject. You’ve got to be the expert.
  2. Enthusiasm and passion to bring the content to life!
  3. Patience, because people learn in different ways and at different paces. You’ve got to take the time to adapt your learning style to meet individual needs.
  4. Creative – think about different ways to explain an answer
  5. Keep believing in people’s ability to do it!

Do you find it challenging teaching online rather than face-to-face?

Short answer, no. I genuinely didn’t know how it’d work until I discovered AVADO’s courses, but now I have the freedom to give that extra help to students – as much as necessary – AND I get to build the course!

Rarely people recall something after hearing it once. But on AVADO’s ACCA courses, students get taught in the live classes, they can discuss questions with their group, they can play the recording again and again afterwards and they can still reach out to the tutor if needed. I never expected this much from an online course. It’s the best way to learn.

If you weren’t one of our tutors what would you be doing now?

Oh, I already have my retirement planned out! Outside of my work with AVADO and ACCA, I volunteer at a youth club for children with disabilities – The Hamlet Centre. I’d absolutely love to spend more time being with those incredible children. It’s just wonderful!

Final question - what advice would you like to share with anyone considering ACCA?

Decide what it is what you want to do with your life, see what ACCA has to offer, and then see if they marry up. If they do, then go for it! Anyone can start an ACCA paper, and if you’re prepared to put in the effort - the skills can take you anywhere. You may be looking to set up your own business, work for top accountancy practise, a charity – everything comes to down to finance. I may be a tad biased but ACCA are the best! If you’re reading this and it feels right for you, check this out.

 

Holly Maunders

Written by Holly Maunders

Holly Maunders is Alumni Programme Manager for AVADO. Having joined the company back in 2014, Holly’s worked in many customer-facing roles for the digital side of the business. Since then, her proudest moments have included leading client management for AVADO's first bespoke cohort with the Dentsu Aegis Network, setting up and managing the first Student Services Team for digital products, and completing 2 of AVADO's courses. Aside from writing blogs, Holly creates newsletters, organises events, manages online communities, owns the global alumni strategy across AVADO and heads up AVADO’s workplace well-being stream.

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