Carly, Accountancy Level 4

A change of career

I finished my A levels back in 2008, and I’ve been in the same job in the insurance industry ever since at the same company. I did some insurance exams to help me in my current job, but I hadn’t done any formal education outside of that. A few years ago, there was a redundancy made at my company and it got me thinking about what I would do if I didn’t work where I am now. I knew that I wouldn’t want to work in insurance if I had to move companies, so I started thinking about alternative careers. I have a rental property that I bought in 2015, so I manage the finances for those, and I file my own tax returns, so I already had some experience of working with numbers. My grandma also used to work in accountancy and she always used to say how much she enjoyed it, so I thought I’d give it a go and I really loved it!

Why Bracknell and Wokingham College

When I signed up for this course originally, I didn’t really know what to expect from the course. At that time, due to working full time and other commitments, where I could study was the most important thing for me. Bracknell and Wokingham College is only ten minutes from where I live, so that was my main reason for studying there, but I actually feel lucky that it worked out that way due to the good experience I’ve had with the college. The year before I joined, my sister had done a course there too and had a good experience too, so that’s why I chose Activate Learning.

The learning experience

I never used to be the kind of student that had exceptional grades or that stood out academically, so I’m really proud that my tutor, Rita, asked me to provide a case study for Activate Learning. It’s nice to know that she’s recognised my hard work and that I’ve been doing well. I really wanted to use this as an opportunity to say how brilliant the tutors at Activate Learning have been, especially Rita.

I find that her style of teaching really makes sense to me and I can remember the things she has taught me well. Her style is quite methodical and she teaches us the practical process before going over it a few times again and answering any questions we have. She then follows up with practise questions so everything really sinks in.

Mainly though, it’s the support that she gives that makes her stand out. I really feel like her goal is to get us all to pass for our own benefit, rather than making herself look good; her goal is that we learn and do well, not just pass the course. If I have any questions at all I can always email her, and she always replies really quickly.

She’s always happy to go through anything we’ve done in class again and spend time in her own time as well. During Coivd-19, with everyone on lockdown, she’s been so accommodating to everyone. I don’t have children, but a lot of the people in the class do and she’s gone out of her way to help those students, including doing bits on Sunday afternoon as well.

The student experience

I did go in quite a bit to the library when I was preparing for the SAGE exam because I didn’t have the SAGE software at home. All the facilities are really nice and always clean, the food was always nice if I ever got anything from the cafes.

The course is practical and geared towards finding employment

Since I’ve been looking for a new job in accountancy, I’ve really come to realise that the qualification I’ve got covers so much of what people are looking for. I was really quite surprised actually! I thought I knew roughly what kind of jobs I’d be interested in when doing the course but didn’t know exactly what jobs would require which skills, so to the job descriptions being advertised asking for so much of exactly what I’ve been covering on the course makes me feel really confident applying for jobs and going in for an interview. I had heard before that the course was designed with the help of local employers, but now I can really see that I’ve been given exactly the skills and knowledge that people are looking for in the job market.

What advice would you give to somebody who is in a similar position to you?

I would definitely recommend it 100%. The AAT qualifications in particular if they’re looking to go into accountancy. The support that you get on the AAT website is really amazing as well; they have got the green light test, practice mock papers, and videos you can watch. It’s really helpful and designed to get you to pass and really understand the subject. I can’t fault anything that happened in the last two years since I’ve been at Activate Learning.