Written by Milpark Communications

Senior lecturer Louise Maritz is well schooled in the needs and challenges of students by now. Having taught in Milpark Education’s School of Professional Accounting (incorporating CA Connect) since 2015, she’s seen it all – every life and academic obstacle under the sun. She is now stepping into a new role as academic co-ordinator for CA Connect, which in many ways, is a natural progression. This transition to a more administrative and organisational role allows Louise to draw from her experience working closely with students as a lecturer, as well as her intimate understanding of staff needs and pressures.

“My role is to ensure there are no bottlenecks, that operations are smooth at work and that any issues regarding staff and students are dealt with swiftly and satisfactorily,” says Louise.  As a self-described people’s person, she loves connecting and re-connecting with her team and the student cohort. Louise is energised by checking in with both lecturers and colleagues as well as current and past students.

As a qualified CA herself, Louise knows how demanding this career path is – she has a lot of empathy for students. She’s not ashamed to admit that she too struggled en route to becoming a CA, having failed tests and exams and battled with the long hours of hard work required to obtain the qualification. She believes strongly in what CA Connect is doing to support students through the challenges.

There are other educational institutions offering distance learning, but none have the kind of personal support and involvement that CA Connect provides, insists Louise – from mentors and free counselling to supportive lecturers and facilitators who follow each student’s individual journey. “There is a genuine desire to help students at CA Connect,” she says. “This has remained our vision and purpose from the beginning and we are always trying to find ways to do this better. As we expand, it is a challenge, of course – but we adapt too, to keep ourselves aligned to our core mission.”

She is proud of CA Connect’s high ITC pass rate and the fact that so many graduates of the postgraduate diploma in accounting (PGDA) go on to qualify as chartered accountants CA(SA) – still one of the most demanding and prestigious of the professional careers. She’s driven to keep these standards high.

The culture and atmosphere of CA Connect promotes hard work and optimism and, crucially, the integrity of the individual journey. Alongside success, it celebrates kindness, which is a core value for Louise – kindness to others, as well as herself. Although it’s a busy and stressful world, it is important to approach our work with self-awareness, she says. “We can become too hard on ourselves and this can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and burn-out.” Taking a break is not a sign of weakness but can sometimes be the best way of learning and coming back stronger. “Acknowledging vulnerability and even weakness can be a sign of great strength.”