From education to employment

Karen inspires accountancy learners to fulfil their potential

Karen Richards – teaching the next generation of accountants.

Accountancy tutor Karen Richards is achieving her mission of inspiring and supporting learners to be the best they can be. With a pass rate of 86%, her learners at ACT in Cardiff are well above the national average.

At any one time, Karen has more than 60 learners at various stages of their AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications and she teaches day and evening workshops which have been delivered online during the pandemic.

Karen, 54, from Blackwood, has been the accounting tutor and co-ordinator with ACT since 2016 and uses her wealth of experience to teach Advanced Diploma and Professional Diplomas in Accounting in an engaging and fun way.

In addition to teaching her own Level 4 learners at ACT, Karen also provides coaching support to other learning providers when their learners are struggling.

She holds AAT qualifications to Level 4, a Certificate in Education, the Assessors Award and is focused on continuously expanding her knowledge and professional development.

In recognition of her work, Karen has been shortlisted for the Work-based Learning Tutor of the Year award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.

This annual celebration of outstanding achievement in training and apprenticeships will see 35 finalists compete in 12 categories for awards. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on April 29.

Highlight of the work-based learning calendar, the awards showcase businesses and individuals who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes and gone the extra mile to achieve success during these unprecedented times.

The awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW). Openreach, the UK’s digital network business and passionate supporter of apprenticeships, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the awards.

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Passionate about teaching and making AAT more accessible to learners, Karen adapts her teaching style and uses a variety of resources to suit individual learners, some of whom have barriers that include dyslexia and anxiety.

One Level 2 learner ran out of an examination suffering from an anxiety attack but, with Karen’s support, eventually progressed to achieve the Level 4 qualification.

“A tutor plays an integral part in supporting learners to achieve their goals, acting as mentor, cheerleader and a listening ear,” said Karen. “It’s a privileged position that can have a powerful impact and, whether you’re six or 60 years old, we all need to experience success.

“Receiving learner feedback like ‘Karen never gave up on me, even when I gave up on myself’ reminds me why I teach.”

Ann Rees, accounting and education development route manager for ACT said: “Karen has an undeniable enthusiasm and positive, can-do attitude which makes her extremely respected by ACT, her team and her learners. She has worked tirelessly to ensure she is professionally equipped to provide an excellent level of service.”

Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “Our Apprenticeship and Traineeship Programmes are helping people fulfil their career ambitions and I’m delighted we have already reached our target of creating 100,000 apprenticeships in this Senedd term. 

“This has been key in helping apprentices of all ages to gain important skills and experience that we know businesses across all sectors of the economy in Wales really need. This will be vital as we emerge from the pandemic.

“Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate and showcase the achievements of all involved, from star apprentices to skilled learning providers.

“I’d like to congratulate all the finalists announced for this year’s event and wish each and every one all the best for the future.”

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