The new world of accountancy apprenticeships: Ever since the 2012 Richard Review of Apprenticeships, the government has been working to implement a programme of reforms which we now know as the Apprenticeship Levy. If you have a UK wage bill of over £3 million, you are required to pay 0.5% of that into a levy. The purpose of this levy is to boost productivity by investing in human capital, particularly when it comes to developing vocational skills.
Recently, I attended an event hosted by HTFT who gave an insight into the new world of accountancy apprenticeships. HTFT have an innovative approach to professional accountancy training and having worked with them for around five years now, I can see why so many employers use HTFT as their preferred training provider. They are truly passionate about what they do, and this shines through all of their students.
In this blog, I’ll discuss the criteria and eligibility requirements of an AAT accountancy apprenticeship and highlight their suggestions for successful implementation of the level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship Standard.
This is a professional accountancy apprenticeship programme that will lead to a CIMA qualification and will also develop an individual’s skill set to include things such as leadership skills, commercial knowledge and professionalism. Not only does this course provide many broad skills that can be utilised across the finance function; but employers can also benefit from little or no cost at all to the organisation.
The new apprenticeship standards will replace the old style (SASE) frameworks. Under the new frameworks, apprentices will be required to build up a portfolio of skills and behaviours that have been demonstrated in the workplace and will need to be fully competent in the role and meet the requirements of the employer. They will then have a discussion with their employer at the end of the apprenticeship to ensure these have been completed.
With the new standards in place, apprentices can receive training tailored by their employer (in-house or external).
There are currently two standards that have been approved for delivery and one in progress:
- Assistant Accountant (Level3)
- Professional accounting taxation technician (Level 4)
- Professional Accountant (Level 7) Currently being developed
With these new standards, employers have more flexibility over how they want to develop their future talent. This means that with the inclusion of a discussion at the end of an assessment, employers can now ensure that the apprentices meet the skills, knowledge, and behaviours standard required, whether this is down external training providers, in-house training, or even a combination of both. The timescales to complete each of these programmes vary:
- Assistant accountant – typically 15 to 18 months
- Professional accounting/Tax Technician – typically 18 to 24 months
- Professional accountant apprenticeship – typically 18-36 months
Planning your programme.
When planning your apprenticeship programme, there are various activities that you can carry out in order to ensure that your programme works for you.
Firstly, take time to choose which Apprentice Assessment Organisation will manage the end-point assessment of your programme. Secondly, agree on an on-programme curriculum, and finally, agree on employer-based skills and behaviour training and support programme to cover the skills listen in the Professional Accountant Standard.
Each new apprenticeship standard has been awarded a funding cap, meaning that trainees are able to gain a full professional qualification for a fraction of the traditional cost. The funding caps for the apprenticeships are as follows:
- Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship is £9,000
- Professional Accounting/Tax Technician Apprenticeship is £9,000
- Professional Accountant Apprenticeship is £21,000
What is the eligibility criteria for the apprenticeship?
The key eligibility criteria include:
- Having the right to work in the UK (ordinarily resident for 3 years)
- 16 in academic year they start their apprenticeship
- Able to complete the apprenticeship in contracted time i.e. 12-month contract won’t now cover the length of the programme
- Spend 50% of their time working in the English borders
- Not be enrolled in another apprenticeship
- Not asked to contribute financially to any costs of the apprenticeship
- Existing members of staff and graduates eligible, if receiving significantly new training
- Potential apprentices will need to have English and maths to GCSE level. If they have not reached this level, or can’t not evidence they have, HTFT can help.
HTFT offer a holistic and specialist guide that will direct you through the planning of your Professional Accountant Apprenticeship.
If you would like to discuss further you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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