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Hi, my name is Teresa Clarke and, amongst other things, I am an AAT tutor at Open Study College. I love the jobs and roles I have, but this is most certainly not the career I initially intended for myself! However, it just shows, you don’t always need a clear path from the beginning. There is always time to do what you love, even if that means re-training.
At 16 years old, I left school education and started a job as a typist. This was a pretty standard role at the time, so I was pleased to have it. A year later at 17, I moved out of my family home and set up a home with my boyfriend who, after 2 years, then became my husband. Our first few years of marriage were focused on building a home and family together, so I wasn’t concerned about my career and happy with the role I had. However, after 5 years, I got what you may call itchy-feet and started to want more from my career, so applied for a job as a secretary. This position was a step up the ladder and an increase in pay, so it was definitely a confidence boost to be offered the position!
This didn’t last long, however. After 12 months of working as a secretary, I transferred into running a business with my husband in plumbing and heating. Although I did some of the strenuous work or heavy lifting, I was more involved in the office with admin work, as this was a big part of my career history. (Plus I did dabble as a plumber’s mate from time to time!)
The next stage of our lives was the foundation of my current career success. After having my son at 25, I was home-bound and restricted to what I could do within the plumbing business. But an idea came to me when looking at our accounts – why pay someone else to do them (who wasn’t particularly reliable to be honest) when I could just do them myself? So I did.
After doing some research, I started with an A Level in Accounting as I wasn’t sure whether I was clever enough to study. I gained a B in that so then moved onto studying Level 3 and Level 4 Accounting via distance learning. It was operated much differently then. Any contact I had with my tutor was via post – yes, I am that old! But I loved it as I was able to work around my duties as a mother. Sometimes I even managed to incorporate the two by reading him bedtime stories about accounting. I’m not sure whether he actually enjoyed them or whether he just fell asleep due to boredom... but it did the job!
The period after my studies was a busy time. I took on some volunteer work as a treasurer for a local charity. This worked well for me as, again, my son could accompany me, and I was able to work it all around the plumbing business, too.
In 1998, I gained my AAT Practice Licence and began to work for a few local self-employed people, gaining clients from contacts and word-of-mouth. I ran this practice alongside the plumbing business, but we also thought it a good idea to start another business in Property and Sales. So, Monday to Friday I was working on site and as an accountant on the weekend – as well as being a mother first and foremost.
By 2000, I was an accountant, running a plumbing business, a property renovation business and, in addition, we also started a property management business, too. We didn’t do things by halves! The credit crunch hit around 2007 and that’s when the opportunity to teach then presented itself, so I thought… why not?
I gained my PTTLS Teaching Qualification in 2012 and eased myself in with some supply teaching before securing 2 part-time roles – the first teaching accountancy in a local Adult Learning Centre, and the second teaching functional skills maths in a local prison. So I could add tutor to my other list of occupations.
Currently, however, my role is Partner in Clarke Accountancy alongside my son who is also a qualified accountant. (I guess those bed time stories worked better than I thought!) In addition, I am a published and aspiring author under the penname Reesa Trelack. I always wanted to write, so I did. I still love teaching, though, which is why I enjoy my role as a tutor at Open Study College.
My reasons for doing anything and everything are that we only have one life; it is too short doing something you don’t enjoy doing. You should have a go at anything you fancy and work for anything you want. If it doesn’t work or you don’t like it, then make changes – it’s never too late. Stop moaning about what life has dealt you and go get what you want.
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