Tuesday, 17 November 2015

ABE’s Top Tips to Help You Pass Your Exams – Part 2: On the Day!

You’ve worked hard,  you’ve followed our Top Tips for Revision.  Now all you’ve got to do is sit your exam.  To help you get the grade you deserve, follow these simple steps to exam success.
  1. Read each questions thoroughly to make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you.   Underline all the command words in the question (these are the ‘instruction’ words, such as ‘identify’, ‘describe’ or ‘explain’).
  2. Ask yourself  ‘what does the examiner want me to do?’ so you can give the kind of answer they are looking for. 
  3. Plan how you are going to answer the question and tick off each item when you have completed it. Make sure that your answer covers all the command words used in the question.  
  4. Take a note of the time allowed for each question and plan your answers accordingly.
  5. Keep your answers concise.  You won’t get extra marks for giving information that is not required and it wastes your valuable time.
We recommend you read the document called:  Examination Guidance for Students and Colleges, in the Members Area  under QCF/NQF resources.  It is packed with really useful information including a section on command words which tells you what examiners are looking for according to the words they use – knowing this could make all the difference to your final grade.

Finally, keep calm and remember the exam is only there to help you prove what you have learnt.
We wish you every success. 

Here are some previous blogs with further advice you may find helpful: 
How to revise
How to study
Do share any top tips of your own.
Good luck.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

ABE’s Top Tips to Help You Pass Your Exams – Part 1: Revision

Exams are looming and it’s a stressful time!   Everyone tells you to just relax and do your best.  Great advice, but easier said than done!   One thing that can help is feeling well prepared.  With this in mind, we have summarised some top tips to getting top grades:
  1. Thoroughly understand the learning outcomes for the units you are sitting.  Every exam paper will contain at least one question relating to each learning outcome so thoroughly understanding them will put you on the path to success. For more information go to the Members Area and read the Study Tips and syllabus for your unit.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Sometimes it can feel embarrassing if everyone else seems to understand something and you don’t.  But don’t let what others might think stop you from asking questions if you feel you don't fully understand an explanation (your peers may well be wondering the same thing).  So, if there is anything you are not sure about, ask your tutor to explain it then check and double check your understanding is correct.  
  3. Identify your weak areas.  Test yourself using past papers from the Members Area and set a three hour time limit.   Then check the examiners’ reports and suggested answers to see where you did well and where you may need further revision. Make sure you do this early enough to allow plenty of time to develop any weaker areas.    Your college may well organise this for you. If so, make sure you pay close attention to any feedback you are given.
  4. Develop a wider understanding of your subject.  Make full use of the ABE resources, academic database and recommended reading lists to ensure you have a broad knowledge of the subject.  The test questions will not be exactly the same as in past papers so gaining a thorough understanding of the subject gives you the best chance of understanding a question in any context.
  5. Devise a learning method that works for you.  Use this link to take our fun learning style quiz  to check what type of learner you are.  If you know what helps you memorise and understand best you can build this into your revision.
We hope that you find this useful and wish you every success in the forthcoming exams. 
Here are some previous blogs with further advice you may find helpful: 
How to revise
How to study

Also check out ABE's Top Tips to Help You Pass Exams - Part 2 On the Day

Do share any top tips of your own.
Good luck.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

ABE Alumni Profile - Joseph from Ethiopia

Joseph Jurgen Rudulph from Ethiopia holder of  ABE Diploma in Business Administration (now Business Management) Works for an Oxfam GB global consortium called Cash Learning Partnership

Position: Global Administration Officer 

Joseph always knew he wanted to work for a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) but was unsure of what capacity he wanted to work in.  His ABE qualification enabled him to work in the sector and after a variety of roles he found HR was where he wanted to specialise.   He now works as part of a global team and has supported emergency responses around the world.

I am from Ethiopia, but studied in Kenya. After I finished my ABE Diploma, I went back to Ethiopia and started working at a local NGO  in an administration, HR and finance role.  Since then I have moved jobs and organisations.   I have worked for local NGOs, private companies and international humanitarian organisations including Medicines Sans Frontiers and Save the Children International as Emergency HR Officer. 

I have worked in country offices, remote areas and refugee camps. Currently, I live in the UK with my wife and two sons. I now work for consortium hosted by Oxfam GB (CaLP) and I just completed my Masters in Human Resource Management Level 7 from Middlesex University. 

CaLP is a diverse team who are based globally, in Oxford, Geneva, Bangkok, Nairobi, New York, Canada, Philippines, London and Dakar. We promote cash transfer programs in humanitarian responses through advocacy, capacity building, research and co-ordination.

During my professional life I have applied the knowledge I gained from my ABE diploma. I am responsible for overall global administration, recruitment and selection, organising interviews and inductions, setting systems for new employees, co-ordinating global meetings and workshops, hosting partnership and inter affiliate agreements, communication and information sharing within the consortium, task management of regional administrators who are based in Nairobi, Dakar and Bangkok and maintaining all HR financial and reporting systems. In addition to that, a key part of my job is to help co-ordinate tasks across the regions using Oxfam’s web-based KARL knowledge-management platform.

The most interesting part of my job is networking with people who are based in different locations. I get the chance to meet new people and see new places. Working in a diverse community has also enabled me to learn about and enjoy different cultures.

Looking back, after I completed my Diploma, I knew I wanted to work for non-governmental organisations. However, at that point I wasn’t sure what my role would be.  After working in administration,  finance and HR. I found Human Resources was something I wanted to take on as a profession. Since then, I have worked as HR officer. Here in Oxfam, I had been seconded as HR executive in order to support emergency responses around the globe especially for the Yemen, Syria, Nepal earthquake and South Sudan responses.

For me the ABE course was a real lifesaver. My qualification has been an asset throughout my career, especially in Ethiopia where I manged to secure senior positions. I was confident when approaching employers and I managed staff who had Degrees and Masters by applying the knowledge and skills I got from the ABE  course. In addition, it also taught me to look issues from different perspectives. Now after 10 years, I still feel that taking ABE was the right decision. When I came to the UK, I used my ABE qualification and work experience to pursue my Masters.

My advice would be, wherever you are, if you are enrolled on an ABE course, you are in the right place and you will be grateful for making this decision for the rest of your career life!”

Monday, 9 November 2015

A day in the life of an HR Director

This week our 'Day in the Life' job profile series looks at HR, with ABE's director of people (HR),Lisa Sarjeant, discussing how she started and what her typical day might comprise of.

How I started
In my first office jobs I moved around in a few different roles to see what interested me most. I realised that having variety and being able to solve a range of problems was something that motivated me… so choosing a career in HR made sense because as an HR generalist, you get a lot of that! I studied two nights a week for two years to become qualified at ‘post-graduate’ level in People Management and Development, alongside my first role in HR.

Where I am now
In my current role as Director of People for ABE, I spend a lot of time helping the organisation's strategy, it’s culture and how to provide the best working environment to enable staff to do their best and reach their full potential. Early on in the role I communicated our People Strategy and conducted a pay and benefits review which resulted in implementing new ways of working, a new office layout, organisational values, new contracts of employment and improved employee benefits. The People Strategy is entirely linked to the Business Strategy to ensure we improve the success of the organisation through its people.

Here is my typical day

The first thing I do is...
say ‘hello’! It’s important to connect with people across the business on a regular basis and those small gestures go a big way to creating a great environment and a more engaged workforce.

Daily tasks
As a small company, my role has many parts from strategic thinking and planning to all the traditional elements of good HR. I get involved with recruiting new staff, advising and supporting line managers on their ‘people management’ roles and employment law guidance, launching staff engagement initiatives such as our Staff Awards scheme, which rewards good customer service. Plus, overseeing performance and development reviews, identifying and implementing staff development, writing and communicating staff policies and most of all, working closely with the CEO and Executive Leadership team to help ABE to be more successful.

The best thing about my job is...
variety! Each day is different and I get great satisfaction from making a positive difference for the benefit of ABE and all its people.

We had a great Summer event this year which I organised on behalf of the CEO as a way to say thank you to the staff for their hard work during a very challenging and changing year. We used the opportunity to announce our Staff Award winners. It was great to see everyone getting to know one another much better which improves teamwork when you get back to the office.

The skills that make a great HR director are...
resilience, ability to challenge, empathy and common sense!

The last task of the day
I always check what is going on the next day so that I am prepared!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Story of an ABE alumni - Manoj in Sri Lanka

Dinesh Manoj Sivagure from Sri Lanka, holder of ABE Diploma in Business Management

Works for: Aitken Spence Plc 

Position: Operations & Customer Service Manager

Manoj used his ABE qualification to go on to successfully achieve an MBA.  He now works for a blue chip conglomerate and manages a team of people.

Hi, I am 35 years old and married with two lovely kids. I love my job as every day I use it to learn something new.

I am working at Aitken Spence Plc. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange, the company is a blue chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in  hotels, travel, maritime services, logistic solutions, plantations, power generation, financial outsourcing, insurance, IT, printing and the apparel sectors.

I have to ensure that all our operations go smoothly. We have a network of over 3,000 sub agent partners around the country. In a very simple way my primary responsibility is to provide a better service to our customers and agent partners.

As a person responsible for customer service, I have to make sure that all our customers are satisfied with the service provided by our network. In operations, I ensure our systems are working without technical error. New sub agent registrations, branding (signs/stickers), performance training and many other activities are involved from time to time. 

To carry this out  I have a well-trained team of sixteen employees.  I enjoy experiencing different issues every day.

ABE was a great starting point. It provided me with a good academic background which led me to complete an MBA successfully. 

ABE is a ladder to move on to success within short period of time. It not only grows you on an academic level, it also makes you rich with many life experiences.”

Monday, 2 November 2015

Entrepreneurship in 10 steps, by Gareth Robinson

ABE CEO, Gareth Robinson, has many years’ experience as a Chief Executive and a Managing Director. Some time ago he shared his thoughts on the steps you need to take to start and grow a highly successful enterprise in his blog "Ten steps to help you become a great business leader"
Here are his highly valued thoughts in an infographic.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

How learning is changing my life - by Maria Koukou, digital marketer

My degree in computing topped up with analytics qualifications played a significant part in developing my career in digital marketing. To keep up with the latest trends in the industry, I seek courses that are well aligned with my educational background and working experience. 

Courses lead to professional qualifications and build strong skills. They provide a marker that you have achieved something and give you a different perspective on the way to do things. 

So far, constant learning has had a big impact on me:
  • I manage myself and others around me more effectively
  • I learned how to listen and be listened to 
  • I am more aware of what I want to achieve
  • I have become more methodical
  • I have a better understanding of my environment 
  • I can resolve issues better
  • I am not afraid to make mistakes
  • I know the importance of constructive feedback
The most important lesson I have learned is that learning is about doing and being, not just about knowing. Now, I can see the patterns in how I think and behave and how this affects my life. I have the confidence to decide which of those behaviours I want to keep and which ones are holding me back. 

Learning takes me out of my comfort zone showing me new paths of forward thinking and acting. I stopped letting my past defining my future and I constantly attain new goals. I now look at how I make choices and decisions and how I go about influencing the people who can bring my aspirations to life. 

You try it now: learn something new today and you’ll be surprised to see how confident, inventive and successful you can be.