Angela Francis, Author at Reed Business School - Page 2 of 4

Celebrating British Values: A Pathway to Democracy and Inclusion

This month as we’re planning to commemorate the International Day of Democracy on September 16th, and the United Kingdom gears up for National Inclusion Week from September 25th to October 1st, it is an opportune time to reflect on the five core British values that underpin the nation’s social fabric.

These values – democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance – not only define the essence of the United Kingdom but also serve as a guiding light for fostering democracy and inclusivity around the world.

  1. Democracy: The Voice of the People

Democracy is the cornerstone of modern society, empowering individuals to participate in the decision-making processes that shape their lives. The International Day of Democracy highlights the importance of upholding democratic principles worldwide.

In the UK, democratic values are ingrained in the parliamentary system, allowing citizens to elect representatives who advocate for their interests through a democratic and open voting system. This approach ensures that the power ultimately rests with the people, demonstrating that a well-functioning democracy is not just a political structure, but an integral way of life.

  1. Rule of Law: Ensuring Equality and Justice

A society built on the rule of law is one where everyone, regardless of their background or status, is subject to the same laws and regulations. This principle safeguards individual rights and ensures a fair and just society. In celebrating the Rule of Law, we celebrate the impartiality of the legal system in the UK, where justice is blind and the rights of all are protected. This commitment to the rule of law is an embodiment of the belief that no one is above the law.

  1. Individual Liberty: Empowerment and Expression

Individual liberty is the heart of personal freedom – the right to express oneself, pursue one’s aspirations, and make independent choices. This British value enables citizens to flourish and contribute uniquely to society. As we honour this value during National Inclusion Week, it is vital that we recognise that individual liberty goes hand in hand with ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, has equal access to opportunities that allow them to fully participate in society.

  1. Mutual Respect: Embracing Diversity

Mutual respect forms the bedrock of cohesive societies. It’s the understanding that our differences make us stronger, and that by valuing and respecting each other’s perspectives, we can create a harmonious community.

This British value encourages unity in diversity and provides a blueprint for celebrating the richness of culture, ideas, and experiences within society.

  1. Tolerance: Building Bridges of Understanding

Tolerance is the bridge that connects individuals from various walks of life. By fostering a climate of respect and open-mindedness, we create a space where diverse opinions can coexist peacefully. Tolerance doesn’t mean agreeing with everything, but it does mean treating others with empathy and kindness, even when views differ.

As we observe National Inclusion Week from 25th September to 1st October, let us remember that a tolerant society is one where everyone’s voices are heard and valued.

British Values Across the World

As the world collectively acknowledges the International Day of Democracy and the UK celebrates National Inclusion Week, it’s imperative to recognise the interconnectedness of these events and their alignment with the core British values. Democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance are not just national virtues, but also global aspirations that transcend borders.

In honouring these values, the United Kingdom sets an example for the rest of the world – a reminder that by upholding the principles of democracy, justice, freedom, respect, and inclusivity, we can collectively build societies that thrive on the strength of their diversity.

So, as we mark these important reminders of democracy, let us recommit ourselves to nurturing these values not just within our own communities, but across the entire global community we share.

August is Happiness Month!

Celebrating the Essence of Well-Being and Self-Care

Happiness is not just a fleeting emotion; it is a state of mind and well-being that encompasses all aspects of our lives. In August 2023, we celebrate “Happiness Month” as a time to reflect on the importance of happiness, well-being, and the significance of self-care in our busy, fast-paced world.

The Pursuit of Happiness: A Universal Desire

Throughout history, humanity has been on a quest for happiness. From ancient philosophers to contemporary scientists, the pursuit of happiness has captivated hearts and minds. In today’s hectic world, where stress and anxiety are common companions, dedicating an entire month to happiness is not only valuable but also a necessary reminder of why we should all focus on our own well-being.

Understanding the Importance of Well-Being

Well-being encompasses more than just physical health; it also includes mental, emotional, and social aspects of our lives. Achieving a sense of well-being involves striking a harmonious balance between these different facets. However, in the hustle and bustle of modern life, we often neglect one or more of these dimensions, which can lead to a feeling of imbalance and unhappiness.

The Link between Happiness and Self-Care

Self-care is a fundamental pillar of well-being and happiness. It involves taking intentional actions to nurture ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. Self-care is not selfish; it is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship with oneself and, consequently, with others.

During Happiness Month, we are reminded to prioritise self-care and to view it as a non-negotiable aspect of our daily lives. From simple activities like going for a walk outside, reading a book, working on a hobby, or meditating, to more elaborate endeavours such as taking a day off to rest and recharge, self-care comes in various forms and can be adapted to suit individual preferences.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Positive thinking and gratitude play a significant role in cultivating happiness. While it might seem challenging to maintain a positive outlook amidst life’s challenges, adopting a growth mindset can help. A growth mindset encourages us to view obstacles as opportunities for growth and learning and can help us to shift our perspective from one of a feeling of imbalance to abundance.

Practicing gratitude is another powerful tool for enhancing happiness. Taking time each day to express gratitude for the people, experiences, and things in our lives can foster a sense of contentment and fulfilment.

The Role of Connection and Community

Human beings are social creatures, and a strong sense of community and connection with others is essential for happiness. In the age of technology, meaningful face-to-face interactions can sometimes be overlooked, and we can all become insular and introspective.

During Happiness Month, we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with family, friends, and colleagues and to engage in activities that promote a sense of community and general well-being.

Embracing Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

In a fast-paced world filled with distractions, mindfulness can serve as an anchor, bringing us back to the present moment and allowing us to savour life’s simple joys. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting emotional well-being. Developing a regular practice in this can also help us to develop good habits dedicating time around self-care.

Spreading Happiness and Kindness

One of the most amazing aspects of happiness is that it grows when shared. During Happiness Month, we can actively contribute to others’ well-being through acts of kindness and compassion. Simple gestures, such as offering a helping hand, listening attentively, or expressing appreciation, can make a significant impact on someone’s day and foster a sense of interconnectedness and community.

Taking the Happiness Journey Together

Happiness Month in August 2023 serves as a reminder that happiness is a journey, not a destination. It is a collective effort that involves embracing self-care, nurturing positive mindsets, fostering connections, and spreading kindness.

By coming together as a community, we can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond this month, ultimately shaping a happier and more fulfilling world for ourselves and future generations. So, let’s be mindful of our own journey towards finding contentment and happiness during this summer month, and celebrating the essence of well-being and self-care every day of the year.

Happier Kinder Together | Action for Happiness

How to be happier – NHS (

Well-being & Happiness –

Cultivating Happiness –

How an accountancy apprenticeship can work for you and your employer.?

We caught up with Cameron York, Accounts Assistant/Audit Junior at Warwickshire based firm MCA business Ltd, and his manager James Pickering. Cameron is currently undertaking his AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting at Reed Business School.

When finishing school, Cameron initially considered going to university to study for an architecture degree, but following some further research, he decided that pathway wasn’t for him. After undertaking some informal work experience with his accountant mother, which he enjoyed, he started looking into accountancy apprenticeship opportunities so he could learn and earn at the same time. And that’s when he came across MCA.

Having applied for and secured his apprenticeship position, Cameron began his Level 2 AAT qualification at Warwick College, but switched to Reed Business School for his Level 3.

“I didn’t want to have to wait until the next year to start my Level 3 in Warwick. And as my manager (James) and various other colleagues trained at Reed Business School, it made sense to go there instead. The environment and small class sizes suit me, and you get really good attention from the teachers, who are also very knowledgeable and helpful. I’ll definitely look to continue my studies there.”

Mindful Education

Reed Business School uses a blended learning approach for the majority of courses, with our Mindful Education platform at its heart. It hosts all relevant resources, and allows for interaction between staff and students. Cameron is a big fan so far:

“I like that it’s clear and visual with a lot of diagrams, not just big chunks of words. I’m a visual learner so that works great for me. There are lots of different resources – each week there’s the basics you have to learn, then essential practice, a mini exam about that section, plus optional practice. You can also watch recordings from lectures and bite-size videos to learn and review at your own pace.”

Professional Development

Cameron believes studying alongside his work has really aided his professional development and the type of work he gets to do, and he’s very pleased with his progress so far:

When I first started, I wouldn’t really communicate with clients at all, but now I have my own group, and recently I have been taking part in audit stock takes on the clients’ premises too. Soon I’ll be able to go out on meetings alone with them.” 

Cameron also really likes how what he studies in the classroom aids his understanding of his work:

“My accounts work has improved massively, and the two go hand in hand. The course makes much more sense when you have exposure to it at work and can practice what you learn.”

As an employer, MCA believes in supporting the development of its apprentices based on their individual needs and interests. James says:

“I make sure I catch up with them all regularly, and together we map out individual pathways based on their progress, preferences and strengths. We work alongside Reed Business School’s apprenticeship work coach to ensure they develop relevant business skills and behaviours in addition to their technical knowledge. The more confident they get, the more confidence I have in them to take on more senior work.”

Why apprentices?

Compared with a university education, after three years of an apprenticeship you’ll not only have that bank of solid work experience behind you, but also be well on your way to becoming a qualified accountant.

MCA made the decision a few years ago to exclusively hire its trainees via apprenticeships, as the calibre of candidates was comparable to graduates, while their starting salaries were lower – making sounder business sense to them. James says:

“Our approach aims to help the firm grow with new talent, as we can train apprentices in the way we like to do things. Within accountancy work, there are different levels of difficulty, so apprentices can do lower level jobs, and as they progress they can take on more complex tasks.”

Could an apprenticeship be for you?

James tells us what he and (and MCA) look for in the new apprentice accountants they recruit:

“Firstly, they have to have a bit of personality and be easy to talk to. A big part of accountancy is the client interaction, so one of the main things I look for is whether I’d trust that person to represent us well with our clients.

“We also look for people who know a bit about accountancy, what they want to do and why they want to do it. It’s quite a demanding journey so you need to be coming into it with your eyes open about what to expect from your training.”

Key advice

Apprentices are still a relatively new way into accountancy, and James notes that it’s absolutely time to be taking them seriously, while warning that they are hard work:

“When you start your apprenticeship, you might have to do some boring tasks and not understand much of what’s going on. But you need to look at the end goal, keep working through everything as guided, and you’ll end up with a very good career. Trust the process, put in the work, and who knows what you can achieve.”

Cameron agrees, admitting that at the start of his apprenticeship he felt a little out of place:

“It was like I jumped in at the deep end before I really knew how to swim. But you get a lot of support, and if you keep studying and put in the work everything will fall into place. Now I’m really enjoying it.”

and finally a word from our AAT Programme Manager

“MCA are very supportive of their apprentices at levels, and this blended programme suits their needs well. Providing them with the flexibility of learning around their day-to-day work activities. The apprenticeship supports the development of not only their accounting knowledge but also wider skills required by apprentices.” Collette Steadman, AAT Programme Manager at RBS

Would you like to find out more?

Contact us now to start your AAT qualification.

Alcohol Awareness Week 3-9 July 2023: Raising the Bar on Alcohol and Cost

the United Kingdom will embark on a week-long journey of introspection and action, as part of Alcohol Awareness Week. Coordinated by Alcohol Change UK, this annual event aims to shed light on the repercussions of alcohol consumption while advocating for change. This year, the theme of Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘Alcohol and cost,’ urging individuals and society overall to consider the financial toll of excessive drinking.

The impact of alcohol-related harm is far-reaching, affecting millions of people each year. It manifests in various forms, including health issues, financial burdens, strained relationships, and family conflicts. Moreover, the social costs associated with alcohol misuse put tremendous pressure on vital public services such as the National Health Service (NHS), emergency services, police, and workplaces.

According to estimates, the total social cost of alcohol to society amounts to a staggering £21 billion annually. This figure highlights the immense strain imposed on public resources and underscores the urgent need for addressing this pervasive issue. On an individual level, people spend tens of thousands of pounds on average throughout their lifetimes to sustain their alcohol consumption habits.

Tragically, alcohol-related deaths have reached record levels since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, painting a grim picture of the escalating crisis. Mental and physical health have also been adversely affected for countless individuals, as harmful drinking continues to take its toll on society. The pandemic-induced cost of living crisis has further exacerbated the problem, leading some individuals to resort to excessive drinking as a coping mechanism.

However, the exorbitant costs associated with alcohol, both at the personal level and on a broader social scale, can be curbed. Alcohol Awareness Week serves as a rallying point for individuals, families, communities, and public services to come together and confront this pressing issue. By raising awareness, engaging in dialogue, and promoting responsible drinking habits, lasting change can be achieved.

Throughout the week, over 5,000 public health teams, workplaces, GP surgeries, pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and community groups will participate in Alcohol Awareness Week, utilizing the resources provided by Alcohol Change UK. These collective efforts aim to educate the public about the true cost of alcohol and empower individuals to make informed choices.

Alcohol Awareness Week 2023 provides an opportunity for reflection, as we think about the impact of alcohol on our lives and the lives of those around us. It prompts us to consider the financial, physical, and emotional costs of excessive drinking, and encourages us to seek healthier alternatives.

As individuals, we can contribute to reducing the burden of alcohol-related harm by adopting responsible drinking habits, supporting loved ones in need, and seeking help when necessary. By addressing the root causes of excessive alcohol consumption, we can alleviate the strain on our healthcare system, emergency services, and workplaces, allowing them to focus on other pressing issues.

During this pivotal week, lets engage in conversations, challenge societal norms, and advocate for change. By collectively striving for a society that is aware, informed, and empowered, we can redefine the relationship between alcohol and our lives, leading to a brighter, healthier future for all.


Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Facts




What do you know about the gardens and the gardening team at The Manor?

So what do the gardeners do, except make a lot of cups of tea and hide in the sheds when it rains?  Unfortunately for the team Sir Alec Reed and I love a good project, so there’s never a spare moment to take stock.  Even in the depths of winter we’re cutting the hedges; propagating plants; clearing and replanting borders; pruning the roses; planting spring bulbs; and even such exciting jobs as cleaning and oiling the garden furniture ready for the next year.

Working in a garden requires a fleeting and adaptable mindset – I was once told that it is a gardener’s prerogative to get distracted by something else that needs doing whilst on a way to a task.  The weather and ground conditions rarely follow the weather forecast, and plants have a habit of doing their own thing.  Added to that here we have the animals, which have planned needs such as the lambing, as well as injuries and movements that can throw our plans sideways.

What is so special about these grounds?  I was originally drawn here by the opportunity to move into a head gardener role in this style of garden.  The main part of the garden was laid out in the 1920’s in the Arts and Crafts style.  For me, this era of gardening was the pinnacle of horticulture, where gardens are made up of ‘rooms’, divided by walls and hedges, with each area representing a different form of horticulture.  This gives us plenty of opportunity to have fun with different designs and planting styles!

I’d love to know who designed the layout of the garden, as it represents the height of fashion at the time and the owners of the manor moved in similar circles to Vita Sackville-West.  Thomas Mawson’s The Art and Craft of Garden Making (1912) gives the definitive layout of a garden of rooms that leads west from the house along a continuous vista, much as we have here.  You’ll see a very similar layout if you visit Hidcote Manor Garden, and at a push I’d guess either Norah or Nancy Lindsay, who were very involved with Hidcote, penned the design for our garden.

I could bore you all to tears about the history of the garden and the changes it has seen, as well as some of the amazing people who have lived at The Manor.  We have theories of a possible medieval sunken garden, tales of The Manor being used as a safe-haven during the 17th century interregnum, and one of my favourite stories – during WW2 Fruity Metcalfe used all the hot water to run himself a bath (I think in what is now the BD Room), denying it to the rest of the household including American Army troops who were quartered in The Manor!  Perhaps one foggy winter’s morning I could do a bit of a slide show of the old photos for anyone who’s interested?

We are currently finishing the Thai garden project, as well as some planting works in the upper terraces.  The rock garden has also been cleared, as I’ve decided it would be fun to have a cactus garden, along the lines of the Jardin Exotique de Monaco.  There’s no plan here to reproduce any over-aped styles such as white gardens, but I have Arts and Craft designers such as Gertrude Jekyll and Harold Peto in the back of my mind, to make sure the overall feel of the garden is still in keeping.

We love seeing the students enjoying the grounds.  From sitting on the lawns chatting, to having a knock up of croquet, golf, or tennis; it is a wonderful feeling to know that people are enjoying what you work so hard to produce.  We also open for the National Gardens Scheme and a very occasional group visit, where as a team we get to share our horticultural passion with die-hard gardeners.  The change in feedback over the years has been wonderful, and with our continual desire to always make the place better I know it will only continue to improve.  A lot of historic gardens are bogged down by seeking to be in their historic heyday – I feel very strongly that a garden should always be aspiring towards its heyday.

About our team! I started in the gardens here eight years ago, moving from Hidcote Manor Garden, and an historic vegetable garden on a Scottish island before that.  Jess came to Reed Business School in 2018 from Cotswold Garden Flowers in Offenham.  Emily joined the team in 2021, also from Cotswold Garden Flowers, and is currently undertaking an apprenticeship in horticulture.  We’re currently a team member short, so please bear with us if something is still on the to-do pile!

Richard Sutton, Head Gardener

National Garden Scheme click here  Home – National Garden Scheme (

Read about one of our newest CIMA students path to Reed Business School

Charles Farmer is former CEO at The Really Useful Group (RUG). Prior to that he worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) for 21 years, most recently as EVP of International Television Productions from 2018-2021. Now he’s embarking on something new – studying towards his CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting at Reed Business School. We caught up with him to find out more about his career pathway to date, and what led him to CIMA.

Charles left school before completing his A-Levels, opting instead to get straight to work. He tried his hand at all sorts of entry-level jobs around London, but it was while working on a sheep and cattle farm in Australia during a year abroad that things started to click into place for him.

“Something about the great outdoors and being thousands of miles away from home gave me a new perspective and the time and space to think about what I wanted to do. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and when I came back to London, I was ready to get stuck in to a new challenge.”

While his first couple of job offers on his return fell through, a call from one of his contacts led him to a temporary Receptionist role at RPTA, where he impressed his colleagues with his positive work ethic. He began to take on more responsibility in different departments, eventually finding himself in the Sales team.

“I helped with a bit of everything, but did well in sales, and soon we were hugely overperforming in some markets given the size of the company. I built up the central and Eastern European markets and was promoted to Sales Manager for the region.”

It wasn’t long before head-hunters came knocking at his door, and with an impressive track record and portfolio of clients, Charles was able to keep stepping up the career ladder at MGM.

But the more senior he roles he took on, the more it became evident that his financial vocabulary wasn’t quite where he wanted it to be, and Charles also wanted to have a more formal schooling in finance and business overall.

Deciding that an MBA might be too much of an undertaking, Charles’s research led him to CIMA, and he was delighted to find such a well-established and highly regarded school so close to him in Oxfordshire, without the need to go to London.

When Charles left the RUG in February this year, and with more time on his hands, he dived straight in to his studies, which he’s really enjoying so far.

“I thought studying towards a CIMA qualification would be a fascinating way to develop myself, but I’ve never really had the time to do it. It’s giving me an insight into the fundamental workings of finance and business, and while I’ve run businesses before and seen all the different areas, finance was the one aspect that always interested me, and now I’m really pleased to get more depth of knowledge in it.”

Charles is a big fan of the set up and structure of the classes, and all the online resources including class recordings that he can go back and revisit when he wants to.

The tutor is incredibly helpful, and it’s fantastic that you can always contact them with any questions. The online documentation and paperwork are all excellent, as is the access to practice papers and questions.”

The classroom environment at Reed Business School means Charles also gets to spend time and share knowledge with those from different industries and experience levels. He finds it interesting to get perspectives on how other industries work, giving him an even more well-rounded learning experience.

Throughout his career, Charles has learned that he succeeds best in a disciplined environment, so completes 1-2 hours of personal study at the same time each day to keep on track.

“I like to learn new things every day, and believe that we should always keep learning no matter how old we are. I’m fascinated by this course, and am really looking forward to the next module, and the one after that. When I go back to work again, the structure of classes on weekends will fit in with my lifestyle, and I’ll have much more confidence in the nitty gritty of numbers to be able to talk with finance teams on their level.”

Embracing the Spirit of Pride Month this June

June Pride Month is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s contributions to history, society, and cultures worldwide. Throughout the month of June the roots of Pride, tracing back to the pivotal Stonewall Riots in June 1969, are celebrated.

Origins of Pride Month

The foundations of the gay rights movement date back to the early 1900s, when courageous individuals across North America and Europe established gay and lesbian organisations like the Society for Human Rights in Chicago, founded by Henry Gerber in the 1920s.

Following World War II, groups such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis emerged, demanding recognition and fighting against discrimination towards gays and lesbians. In 1966, members of the Mattachine Society staged a historic “sip-in” protest at Julius, a New York City bar, challenging discriminatory laws by openly announcing their homosexuality.

However, it was a fateful night in June 1969 that sparked a monumental leap forward for the gay rights movement. On June 28, the Stonewall Inn, a bar nestled in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, became the focal point of a clash between the New York Police Department and a defiant group of patrons. The confrontation ignited a six-day wave of protests and clashes, known as the Stonewall Riots, thrusting the gay rights movement into the global spotlight.

The First Gay Pride Parade

A year later, during the Stonewall Riots’ anniversary, activists in New York City took to the streets of Manhattan in a march commemorating the uprising. Organised by the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee, the march became known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, eventually evolving into the iconic Gay Pride Parade.

According to activist Craig Schoonmaker, who coined the term “pride” for gay pride, “There’s very little chance for people in the world to have power. People did not have power then; even now, we only have some. But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change.”

On June 28, 1970, the country witnessed its first gay pride parade in New York City. The event garnered tremendous success, drawing an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 participants along a 51-block route from Greenwich Village to Central Park. Marches and parades also took place that June in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Save the Dates for Pride 2023

Pride Month 2023 commences in June it highlights diversity and unity within the LGBTQ+ community.

Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community During Pride

Pride Month presents opportunities to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community, not only in June but throughout the year.  Here are some supporting organisations who offer support to members of the LGBTQ+ community:

MindOut | Mental Health Charity for LGBTQ community

LGBTQIA+ mental health – useful contacts – Mind

Kids & Young People – Mermaids (

How You Might Feel – The Proud Trust

LGBTQIA+ Resources | LGBTQIA+ | Who else can help | The Prince’s Trust (


Mental Health Awareness

This month its Mental Health Awareness Week from the 15th – 21st May 2023, so we thought we’d concentrate on this subject as our ‘Hot Topic’ for May.

It’s important to remember that anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with our daily lives, it can become a mental health issue that requires attention and support.

Various factors can contribute to anxiety, including academic or work-related stress, relationship issues, and major life changes. Financial insecurity and struggling to meet basic needs such as food and shelter can also trigger feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health challenges that people face. In a recent survey on stress, anxiety, and hopelessness over personal finances, a significant percentage of adults reported feeling so anxious that it stopped them from doing the things they wanted to do. This underscores the importance of addressing anxiety as a serious issue that can significantly impact people’s lives.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, it is crucial to raise awareness and understanding of anxiety and provide information on the things that can help manage it. It is also important to continue advocating for change, making sure that improving mental health is a priority for both the government and society at large. By working together, we can ensure that everyone has access to the support they need to manage anxiety and other mental health concerns.

Look at the links below to find out more:

Mental Health Awareness Resources

A Student Guide to Loneliness

Mental Health Awareness Week – Rethink Mental Health

Also remember we have:

Our own (MHFA) Mental Health First Aider here, Sam Dean, can be contacted on

The RBS Wellness room for peace, quiet and to take some time away from your busy schedule.

Are you thinking of starting AAT? Read Mevish’s story …

We caught up with Mevish Naveed, who is currently studying for her Level 2 AAT Accounting qualification, while working in the Business Administration team at Cherwell District Council.

When Mevish finished school at 16, she was unsure about what to do next, and considered both sixth form college and apprenticeship options. While initially opting to go to college, she kept her eyes open for apprenticeship schemes, and soon spotted a business administration opening at her local authority.

“I thought I would give it a go to see if I liked it. I got the job and started working towards my Level 2 qualification in Business Administration. But then Covid hit, and suddenly everything was up in the air again.”

Mevish’s employer continued to support her through this difficult time, and she was able to carry on working and studying, achieving her Level 3 certificate. But as she got more exposure to the finance side of her work, which she enjoyed, Mevish began to consider this as an option and started researching possible courses.

“I looked online and saw that Reed Business School offered AAT courses. It was fairly local to me, and had really good student reviews so I gave them a call. Collette was really helpful and answered all my questions, so it seemed like the perfect choice.”

When Mevish presented the idea to her employer, they couldn’t have been more supportive. Both her direct manager and department director have been very encouraging of her development, giving her all the time she needs to attend classes, and allowing her to spend time with the finance team to get more exposure to that side of the organisation.

Mevish’s experience of her studying at RBS so far has been very positive.

“I think it’s been very straightforward and well organised. The weekly structure of classes gives you time to plan your week to get everything done that you need to.”

Time management is always challenging for those who work full-time while they are studying, and Mevish is quite strict in the time she sets aside, to make she retains some balance in her life. Now she’s passed her first exam and is into more of a routine, she’s more confident of her process.

Mevish is also a fan of the Mindful Education platform, where all the lessons are released and learning resources are stored.

“I really like the videos for each class, then afterwards the essential practice and optional practice resources help solidify the learning for each area. After that, you have a knowledge test, where you can log tickets for your tutor to get extra support on that area, and they can see exactly where you are struggling.”

While much of the early part of the course is delivered via online workshop, Mevish was really impressed by our manor home, and the supportiveness of all the staff.

“We went to The Manor for our first exam. Everyone so nice and welcoming, which really put me at ease. I’m really looking forward to going back!”

Mevish admits that she was very nervous prior to her first exam – especially as it had been years since her last one at school. She put in extra hours of revision, and made sure she asked her tutor for support in the areas she needed it.

“I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked in the practice papers and mock exam, so I didn’t think I’d do particularly well in the exam. But I managed to pass, which has given me a real boost as I work towards my next one.”

Now she’s passed her first exam, Mevish has her sights set on the next, and then the remainder of her level 2 papers. She knows that an AAT qualification will open a lot of doors for her and she’s excited to see where it will take her.

How to beat exam anxiety

With exams due in the Spring, we know that these can be a stressful and overwhelming time for many students. However, with the right preparation and stress-management techniques, you can tackle exams with confidence and achieve your academic goals. Here are some top tips for revision and managing stress during exams:

Start Early: One of the most important tips for exam preparation is to start early. Begin by creating a study plan that covers all the topics you need to revise. This will help you to stay organised and ensure that you cover everything you need to know before the exams.
Use Active Learning Techniques: Passive reading of notes or textbooks is often not enough to fully comprehend the material. To maximize your revision, use active learning techniques such as practice quizzes, flashcards, and summarising key points in your own words. This helps you engage with the material and increases your retention.
Prioritise Your Revision: Focus on revising the most important topics first. You can identify the most important topics by looking at past exam papers, consulting with your teachers, or referring to the syllabus. This way, you can ensure that you have a solid understanding of the most critical concepts.
Take Breaks: Taking regular breaks during revision is essential to manage stress and avoid burnout. During your breaks, do something that relaxes you such as taking a walk, listening to music, or meditating. This will help you recharge and maintain your focus.
Get Enough Sleep: Lack of sleep can negatively impact your memory, concentration, and overall well-being. Ensure that you get enough sleep during the exam period by setting a regular bedtime and avoiding caffeine and technology before bedtime.
Exercise Regularly: Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine during the exam period, such as jogging, cycling, or practicing yoga. Join in on our classes at The Manor!
Stay Positive: Positive self-talk can go a long way in reducing exam stress. Avoid negative thoughts or self-doubt and instead focus on your strengths and abilities. Visualise yourself succeeding in the exams and trust in your preparation.

There’s no doubt that exam preparation can be stressful, but by following these tips, you can manage your stress levels and feel confident in your revision. Good luck!

If you’re feeling anxious about your exams please let any member of staff know how you’re feeling so we can offer help and support. You can access some more advice and guidance on coping with exam stress by checking out these websites.
Exam Stress from Warwick University
Exam stress: 8 tips to cope with exam anxiety – Save the Student