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Interview with Becky Abela-Spearing, Head of Client Services at iGaming Academy

Becky Abela-Spearing has over six years of experience in the training environment and is the Head of Client Services at iGaming Academy, an organization that offers high-quality training courses, eLearning and masterclasses for both businesses and professionals in the online gaming and gambling sectors.

Tell us more about iGaming academy: how the year started for you, what was the effect of the global world health situation, if any.

2020 started off with a BANG! With a lot of new hires, and exciting projects coming up, we knew that 2020 was going to be a great year.

Kicking off around ICE, we were aware that COVID-19 was something serious, so we started planning a contingency plan in case the situation got worse, which unfortunately it did.

To briefly introduce iGaming Academy, we provide compliance and skills training to the online gaming and gambling industry offering 40+ courses specialised for individual learners, teams and companies worldwide. Our business is mainly online where our various clients train their staff through our Learning Management System (LMS). Our clients were grateful to have an online system available to them as this allowed them to communicate in a continuous and efficient manner whilst having the ability to keep track of staff training through reports, something that would otherwise have proven to be increasingly difficult due to remote working.  The LMS also ensured that internal company-specific training was not interrupted due to the situation, as we were seamlessly able to host a wide variety of courses on the system as trackable eLearning modules.

As far as our face-to-face training goes, we were also able to adapt by moving all courses online via Webinars to continue to promote learning and upskilling around the globe. We even created new webinars to address the current situation that iGaming companies have now found themselves in with our partners Totally Gaming Academy which is part of Clarion Gaming..

We would love to hear more about your partnership with Totally Gaming Academy.

Our Partnership with Totally Gaming Academy is great news for both companies and the industry as a whole. The international gaming industry across every vertical will now have access to the very best staff training and development with both training providers playing to their strengths and using their experience to deliver a wide range of courses via multiple formats to create a blended learning approach – classroom, webinar, and eLearning.

Totally Gaming Academy needs no introduction with an impressive 13-year track record of delivering high-quality, customisable classroom training and we are very pleased to be working with them in offering a worldwide joint service to our clients and the industry as a whole.

We have received an overwhelming response since the announcement of our partnership, with over 150 gaming professionals from around the globe registering for our virtual courses and webinars.

Together, we will ensure that clients have full access to both Totally Gaming Academy and iGaming Academy’s training portfolio and training solutions to meet the needs of our clients.

Please tell us more about you, your background, and how you entered the iGaming industry…and stayed.

Before forming part of iGaming Academy’s team, I was familiar with the world of iGaming, but I didn’t know much about it. My background has always been education, working with companies to promote active learning at any age. iGaming Academy came about after receiving a phone-call from our sister company, Pentasia, to say that they had a start-up company with a role that they thought would be perfect for me – being a jack of all trades.

Being with the company for so long and watching it grow from 3 individuals to 15 has been an amazing experience!  And it is not just the growing team, it is also the evolvement of the products and services we are now offering, and the geographical spread and reach. When I first started, I was responsible for our Face-to-face training branch, moving on to Client Services Management, then heading the Client Services team and now as well as Operations Management. It has been a successful 4-and-a-half-year journey!

One of the most satisfying elements of my role is seeing some of our clients, who have been with us from the very beginning, grow and develop in both numbers and products. Building a relationship with these clients has been a fascinating experience as most of the time I feel like we are part of that company. We always tell our clients to treat us as their internal training department, without us actually being internal – and most of them do! Working so closely with our clients, there is the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping them improve the industry by providing knowledge on ways to operate in a compliant manner, as well as upskilling their staff.

Being with iGaming Academy is not just being part of a team of work colleagues, but it truly feels like a family!

What are the courses people are most interested in at the current moment – both companies and learners?

It would be difficult to pick one topic that is most popular as we have such a varied portfolio of courses and services that it really depends on their requirements. Having said that, Compliance training has always been a main focus for us as companies across the industry have to undergo annual training to ensure that staff are up to date on all necessary regulatory training. We also offer jurisdiction-specific courses to always meet our clients’ business needs depending on where they are licenced. During this pandemic, we can also see an interest lying in other areas such as product training and skill-based training as companies want to invest in upskilling their staff during this quieter period.

Tell us more about your virtual classrooms. How does it happen and what is the outcome as certification?

We have always offered virtual classrooms as an option to our clients who require bespoke company training overseas. With this in mind, we had the experience to adapt the rest of our current classroom portfolio to remote webinar sessions to accommodate the current situation. This in turn has allowed people from across the globe to continue investing in training without any interruptions.

Our webinar schedule can be found on our website and will continue running in such a manner for the foreseeable future during this pandemic.

All our trainers are highly prestigious individuals specializing in their field of expertise within the industry and all have over a decade of hands-on experience. Their motivation for training others is their way of giving back to the industry that they have spent most of their working life in.

Participants looking to join our webinars can book directly through our website. Everyone who completes our training will receive a CPD recognized certificate to show that they have participated in the training.

In the current situation, iGaming industry is holding really well and people turn to the industry for entry level position. What courses would you recommend for them?

Our course portfolio includes training for all levels ranging from our courses covering basics for entry level staff to Masterclasses for Management and C-level with years of experience.

Our Award In iGaming course is ideal for those looking to get a better understanding of the foundation of the industry or even for those looking to get into gaming for the first time. The course spans across 8 weeks and covers everything from an introduction to the industry, to online sports betting and online casino management, to compliance. The full classroom course is also MQF Level 4 accredited (which is the equivalent of a diploma) and as such, it is the first of its kind in Europe.

For any companies looking to train their staff internally, we also offer the possibility of tailoring our content to suit their business needs and requirements rather than joining our public courses.

There is definitely a lot to choose from and the answer to the question ‘what training do I/my company need’ may not always be so straight forward and varies significantly. This is why we always ensure that our services are adaptable and have a team of experts internally who can guide our clients on the best possible solution for them and their teams with multiple delivery formats to fit the bill.

Do you consider expanding your courses in other languages than English in the near future or is English remaining the official language of the iGaming industry?

Whilst our off-the-shelf eLearning courses are indeed in English, we have several clients who choose to work with us in translating our course content.  In fact, our courses, communication emails and Learning Management System have been translated to Italian, German, Georgian, Spanish and Latvian amongst many others. This allows staff to very simply select their preferred language from a drop-down menu on their account to ensure that they fully understand all the training and information being shared via the LMS.

Regarding our face-to-face and webinar training, our main training language is English. Our partnership with Totally Gaming Academy has allowed for certain topics to also be delivered in Spanish and Dutch.

Tell us more about your LMS Learning Management System and how it can deliver custom eLearning solutions to people that need to go online fast and in a quality way.

Our Learning Management System (LMS) is a viable solution for not only training, but also other elements such as uploading of internal policies, documents and videos in any language. It can be used to motivate staff and keep track of any internal training that staff should be doing. We can see that during this period there has been an increase of 50% completion rates across all clients.

Our Learning Management System can be used by companies as a centralised hub for knowledge sharing and we are happy to say that our teams work as an extension of our clients’ L&D departments rather than an outsourced company.

Whilst the primary focus is to roll out our interactive, industry-specific training to staff via the system, we also offer our clients the possibility to host their own company-specific internal training as trackable eLearning modules on their LMS too. This ensures that all our clients not only have the ability to share induction training, policies, HR documents, and similar material, but they can also track who has signed off on and completed these.

Aside from all this, we also have teams dedicated to continuously building and customising content to be specific to our clients’ varying needs, meaning that aside from an off-the-shelf product we can also tailor-make our offering accordingly.

Our eLearning solution allows our clients the flexibility and ease of continuously training their workforce as their company and business structure evolve by offering a scalable and modular system. As companies hire new staff, identify new training needs, or apply for new licences, their LMS can grow with them. This, plus the added value of having your own dedicated account and content manager maintaining the system, truly allows for a straight-forward and customisable product to all our clients.

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