Virtually the best ACA training in the South West!?!?
With the restrictions imposed by lockdown, was all face to face ACA training going to have to stop?
The short answer to that question is “No”!
Our First Live Virtual ACA Training Session!
We were really pleased to deliver our first live virtual training session for our ACA students and Level 7 apprentices. Our classes are normally delivered face-to-face with small groups from the South West using our training rooms in Exeter.
Because of the current situation, ICAEW had cancelled all June exams. This was disruptive enough. A number of our students had also been furloughed which didn’t help either.
Although with lots of time to study, the lack of routine and the deferral of exam sittings has meant that a number of students have found it hard to maintain their study routine and their motivation. Therefore, with so much uncertainly for the students and their employers, we were really keen to maintain support and “keep the show on the road” as much as possible.
Ordinarily we would have delivered two full days of training for this session, but we felt that this would have been very intensive for people who were less familiar with learning in a virtual class. We therefore changed it to four separate half day sessions. We felt that this would make it easier for our students to absorb the information in this new environment, especially as we are introducing lots of new concepts one after another.
Breaking the ACA course into smaller chunks has also allowed us to structure the home learning more manageably. The learning content between each half day’s session can be more focussed. Of course, access to tutors between the delivered sessions still allows any questions to be answered and support to be provided and gives more time for students to come up with questions and to absorb the answers.
The virtual environment has also allowed us to be more flexible with our schedule. One of the class asked to change the days to fit in with other commitments and we’ve been able to grant that request. With everyone working from home and with no dependence on physical room availability, there was much more flexibility.
Another bonus of delivering the ACA class online is that we have recorded it allowing the class to catch up on it later. They will be able to use the recordings to go back over the topics covered, between sessions and really get to grips with them, re-watching the bits they found more complicated, in their own time. These recordings will also be an invaluable tool for their revision, closer to the exam date.
As with many of the online meetings we are all experiencing at the moment, there were the inevitable moments of people speaking while still muted and people’s mouths moving out of sync with their voices, but otherwise all went well and our students are on the path to their exams in September. In the Tax Compliance exam in March, all of our students passed, all achieving marks of over 70%. The plan is of course to maintain this level in September. No pressure guys!?!
P.S. The ICAEW have been at the forefront of providing alternative opportunities for their students to sit exams in the current environment. They had always planned to introduce remote invigilation, but as lockdown eases marginally and exam centres have made appropriate arrangements to allow safe examinations, they have recently announced that both centre-based exams and exams via remote invigilation will be available for the next sitting of the Advanced and Professional Level examinations. Here is a link to their news release on the subject.
Also, here is a useful link to a page on their website, containing the most recent advice on each of the ICAEW qualifications and apprenticeships.
Written by Ros Aala