60-second interview with Matthew Gilligan TEP

Friday, 26 January 2024
We spoke to Matthew Gilligan TEP about his role as Student Liaison Officer.

What does being a Student Liaison Officer (SLO) involve?

My role is focused on supporting prospective students in deciding when and how to sit the STEP exams, and in particular, which route to take. As the qualification framework has evolved, routes to attaining TEP status have diversified. It is my role to keep abreast of the framework and share this with students in a digestible format to help them pick the option best suited to them.

How did you become a SLO?

I was asked to take on the role of Student Liaison Officer whilst still an active student 13 years ago by my then Managing Director and STEP Guernsey Chair, Paul Hodgson TEP. At the time it was not common for a SLO to be an active student, but it was seen as an innovative way for the SLO to convey ‘live’ feedback to the committee.

What is the part of being an SLO that you enjoy the most?

I have always been a people-person so I love being able to interact with the students and help them out with any questions they may have. The role was also fantastic preparation to becoming a full STEP committee member and, more recently, the Deputy Chair of the Guernsey branch.

How can SLOs provide help to STEP members?

Being a familiar face within your local network is key. I pride myself on being approachable and welcoming. I often have people approach me at our local events to ask questions about the qualifications. It is also important to keep up-to-date with new qualifications that STEP has to offer. Prior to the change in the qualification framework, I also sat many of the advanced papers myself. Not only for my personal development, but to be able to convey to students what the paper is like through first-hand experience.

Why do you consider the SLO to be an important branch role?

As with any organisation, effective communication and transparency is key. The SLO connects the committee directly to students and plays a pivotal role in providing feedback to, and from, both sides. The SLO is, primarily, in place to support students, which is essential for the future of STEP.

What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming an SLO?

It is important to be a proactive problem-solver and to be empathetic. Largely, the queries I receive from students relate to the exams, including requests for additional information, or sometimes assurances on their abilities. As SLO, you are not expected to call upon your technical expertise, but to be someone to call upon to answer any questions that our students may have.

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Matthew Gilligan TEP

Matthew Gilligan TEP is an Associate Director at Saffery Trust. He qualified as a STEP Member in 2011 and has been an active member of the STEP Guernsey Branch for over 13 years. He is the Student Liaison Officer and Deputy Chair of the Guernsey branch and recently help set up the STEP NextGen Committee in Guernsey.