We met with Need a Tutor CEO Bronwyn Covill to discuss leadership, education, and how they’re connecting rural and remote Australians.
We sat down with Need a Tutor Founder and CEO, Bronwyn Covill to discuss how tutoring programs like Need a Tutor are harnessing educational technology that has the potential to significantly benefit millions of Australians living in regional and remote communities.
Bronwyn, what makes a good CEO in your mind?
Strong leadership is certainly the challenge of CEOs, particularly recently in light of the uncertainty prevalent in these current unprecedented and unchartered waters.
At Need a Tutor we have great relationships with our tutors, students, and the organisations that fund our remote learning programs. A good CEO is able to maintain ongoing, open communication with his or her team, along with tempering anxiety or concerns that arise from challenging times.
In addition, a CEO needs to be able to look ahead with optimism and flexibility, forecasting business as usual, once the immediate situation has passed.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My style is participative with tutors, teachers, and students all sharing and contributing to their individual learning plans. With respect to staff, I believe you hire the best person you can afford and then get out of the way and let them do their job.
If you have the right person, with a similar passion for your organisations’ mission, micro-managing is not required, simply support and guidance when required.
Why Need a Tutor – what was the driving force behind the launch of the company?
I started Need a Tutor to positively impact children in living in remote and regional areas, particularly our Indigenous children in isolated communities. Our interventional tutoring programs delivered online provide educational support utilising our collaborative learning platform.
We remove the geographic boundaries by connecting teachers and tutors from around the country with students living in even the most remote of locations providing them with individualised, safe and impactful learning outcomes.
What do you feel is the company’s greatest strength as a business?
Through individually matching tutors and teachers to each student, we enable learning to take place where the students are, in their communities, enable improved wellbeing and effect a positive change in their futures and overall employability.
Through our online Remote Tutoring Program, we see significant outcomes for our students including improvements in school attendance and class participation, increased confidence which in turn alleviates anxiety, a reduction in anxiety leading to improved mental wellbeing; a culturally sensitive professional who bonds, mentors and listens to these children and their problems.
Enabling children to feel confident in their learning, particularly those who are disengaged from their education or experience learning difficulties is what we do best.
Regarding its very clear social mission, what do you see as the most exciting developments in the work you do?
We currently work through some fantastic charities, foundations and large corporates, who both connect us with communities, and provide funding to deliver our programs.
In late 2019, we were asked to deliver our program to vulnerable girls in remote Cambodia. These girls receive world-class online tutoring sessions from our tutors here in Australia. This has been a ground-breaking program in Cambodia, and we are excited to impact not just more children in Australia, but more overseas children, particularly those in remote locations unable to access in-country educational support.
How is technology helping the business or the solutions you can offer students to evolve?
Our platform was purpose-built – and self-funded – to enable a sophisticated way of connecting these students with our array of tutors and teachers. All sessions are booked, held and monitored via our platform allowing for a seamless and safe way of connecting student and tutor.
We continue to invest in technological development to ensure our students receive the best possible experience.
How do you keep up with industry news?
Relevant networking, communication and feedback via our stakeholders allow us to pivot and extend based on industry needs. Attending relevant events in addition to contributing to educational and regional forums and alliances allows us to be at the forefront.
Are you a long-term goal setter? Do you implement a strategy to achieve your goals, and if so, how?
We started Need a Tutor in 2017. In the past three years, we have seen huge growth and adoption of our support through the sheer numbers of children needing assistance. It is estimated that some 7 million people, or 29% of Australia’s population, live in rural or remote areas; 30% of all Australian children live in rural areas, with a further 3% living in remote or very remote areas (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017).
Certainly, these numbers indicate a huge current and future need for our programs. The challenge is to connect with relevant organisations who can give us access to these communities and continue to find new tutors and teachers to deliver our programs.
By making the most of the expanding broadband network in Australia, Bronwyn and Need a Tutor are embracing the potential for educational excellence through the harnessing of modern technology. They’re bridging the gaps in ‘city vs rural’ education performance and making a marked difference in the lives of students who wouldn’t normally have access to these kinds of opportunities.
Vital Addition presents this ‘Meet a CEO’ series.
Vital Addition is a fast-growing Australian tax and accounting company providing fresh, honest, and reliable accounting, financial, and tax advice. CEO Lachlan Grant believes in ‘strength in numbers’, empowering SMEs to make business decisions with confidence, and face the challenges associated with growth with informed optimism.