Bruce Thomson, Chair of the Board of Examiners and Chief Examiner of the CAP subject discusses how working with the HQ Education team is a pleasure, advice for future volunteers and the importance of teamwork and practical experience.
Q. What inspired you to become a volunteer?
Very little at first. I just thought I ought to do my bit. I’d been a student for longer than average, no doubt frustrating the tutors and examiners with naive answers, so I figured I should give them a hand. It was something I could do despite being tied down with young children.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer?
Ending with a good product – practical, knowledgeable young actuaries. Seeing those young whipper-snappers presenting at the Institute soon after they have qualified, and realising they know more than I do.
Q. What is one piece of advice you would give to other members who are considering volunteering?
Have a go! You are probably more able than you think. There will always be someone more experienced to help you along.
Q. How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
Practical experience makes it easier to talk about more than what is written in the course material. Experience in small companies in particular means that principles are important and explaining to non-experts is frequent – just like explaining to students.
Being a consultant makes you a better teacher, and teaching helps keep you up to date. If actuarial students don’t laugh at a particular joke, you certainly shouldn’t try it out on a Board.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with the Actuaries Institute?
Working with other writers, tutors, examiners and the HQ staff. I really enjoy working with dedicated people, but I’m particularly proud to say I’ve worked on the CAP course with Matt Ralph, David Service and Colin Priest for 21 semesters.
Working with the HQ Education team is a pleasure. Ausa has stepped up to perform in our skits, Eleanor either knows everything or finds the answer, while Karenna, Carol and Krystel have made an art-form of gently pushing us to achieve deadlines without appearing to be pushy.
For more stories on our volunteers, read up on our ‘Five minutes with Catherine Robertson-Hodder’ article.
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