Patrico Tyrell re-launches tutoring platform that connects teachers and students
An outstanding student since primary school, Patrico Tyrell has always shared his smarts with his peers by tutoring them in subject areas that he would have already mastered.
He continued to tutor students throughout high school and to the tertiary level where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in Applied Statistics at the University of Technology (UTech).
Tyrell told Observer Online that it was during his tenure at UTech that he came up with the idea for Edwrk, an online tutoring platform that connects teachers/tutors of different subject areas with students locally and internationally.
“I can remember one night— and this is when I decided to create Edwrk as soon as I had the resources— I was tutoring probably 10 or 15 nursing students over by UWI and they were doing their Statistics course and I had to help them with the software to analyse their data. I was helping them from around 9am until about 10 in the night before I said to them that I had to leave now. And one nurse had a nervous breakdown because she was saying that she was going to fail and I can’t leave her. So I decided maybe I can create something where a student can just sign up and find somebody locally that is qualified to help them,” Tyrell told Observer Online.
The online platform was initially launched during the pandemic but Tyrell soon ran into issues as he did not have the proper support that was needed to maintain the website. Recognising the importance of having a space such as this that can benefit students and tutors, Tyrell connected with Davane Davis, a senior software engineer, to revamp the site and re-launch www.edwrk.com.
“Edwrk was initially launched during the pandemic. I didn’t have a full team, I had paid a freelance developer to develop the initial website and we had over 500 tutors sign up at that time. But I had outsourced the work and those developers were not a part of the team so I was kind of left with the whole system by myself. So, I had to rebuild and pitch this idea to a friend from UTech who is a developer and who is now on board, and so we rebuilt the website now to re-launch our thing that is built in house,” Tyrell said.
He added that, with the re-launch, the site has had some upgrades to better help those who sign up.
“Quality improvement checks are done before profiles go live. Initially it was a free for all; anybody could list and could write anything in their bio but now we want people who are serious about building their tutoring businesses, making a side hustle and are passionate about education,” Tyrell said.
He added that a part of the site’s upgrade includes a rating system so students can give feedback and rate tutors, which helps to filter out and recommend the most valuable tutors on the website.
Tutors can list their profiles on Edwrk.com for a monthly cost of US$19.99 and yearly US$191.88. However, with the re-launch of the platform Tyrell is offering a one year free subscription to the first 25 eligible tutors who use the promotion code FIRST25EDU when signing up.
Creating a space like Edwrk is personal for Tyrell who told Observer Online that tutoring has had a number of benefits for him, including helping him fund the majority of his semester fees and other living expenses while he studied at UTech.
He hopes to assist others, in a similar way, through the creation of an additional income stream for educators, especially in light of the country’s current teacher migration crisis.
“We have two sets of crises, teachers leaving and students suffering, so I think if we can give teachers more opportunities to earn outside of the classroom and build their reputation and business outside of the classroom then I think we can at least keep some of our educators in the country and serving our population,” Tyrell said.
“Also giving them access to the US market, because we want to market them internationally and in the Caribbean. On the previous website we had one tutor who made over US$1,000 on the website in the one year that it was active. So we want to give them this wider market so that we can retain some of them in Jamaica,” the St Thomas native said.