Gone are the days where apprenticeships were for purely manual trades, and the only route into accountancy was via a university degree. The accountancy profession has been undergoing something of an overhaul in order to attract new talent into it, and undertaking an accountancy apprenticeship is now proving more popular than ever. But what is an accountancy apprenticeship, and how does it work?
How does an accountancy apprenticeship work?
Like most modern apprenticeships, in accountancy the apprentice will spend 80% of their time on the job earning a wage, and 20% studying. That 20% will be split between formal classroom education working towards technical qualifications, as well as e-learning, webinars and other activities.
Apprenticeships will generally last around three years, depending on the level undertaken, how quickly the apprentice completes their exams, and whether any exemptions might be applied for prior qualifications (ie AAT). Apprentices can achieve either a Level 4 or Level 7 qualification depending on their starting point.
Eve Pilley, Associate Client Manager at Richardsons Chartered Accountants, is coming towards the end of her Level 7 apprenticeship with Reed Business School, and started her Level 4 AAT apprenticeship after her A-Levels.
“I didn’t think going away to university was something I wanted to do, so I looked for opportunities closer to home. I got talking to Richardsons at a careers fair, and it just seemed like the right fit to start working straight away, while learning on the job. The apprenticeship pathway really works for me.”
Technical knowledge, Skills and Behaviours
The traditional view of the accountant might be someone who is excellent at spreadsheets, but lacking in some interpersonal skills. The apprenticeship, however, aims to build well-rounded accountants through not just a thorough grounding in technical knowledge, but in all the other skills and behaviours necessary to succeed in business.
Embedding the apprentice within a team of accountants to get real-life experience is a key factor in this, and apprentices will be tasked with demonstrating evidence across a number of areas, such as team work, presenting, and problem solving, before they can be signed off as qualified.
The final stage of qualification is an end-point assessment, which consists of a case study exam and a project report which showcases personal examples of how apprentices have demonstrated the relevant skills and behaviours.
Back to school?
Reed Business school has a very successful history in training accountants, with methods that we know work. For the technical knowledge and exams, apprentices will tend to visit the school for classroom learning in blocks. Each module will consist of an initial learning phase, followed by a revision and exam preparation phase a few weeks later. Apprentices can choose to sit one exam every three months, or two every six months.
Coaching for success
Apprenticeships aren’t left on their own throughout their journey. Each employer will have their own internal support systems, but Reed Business School also provides a qualified and experienced coach to guide apprentices through their qualification.
A coach will meet with apprentices approximately every three months, to check in regarding any worries and concerns, and to provide guidance with regards to the skills and behaviours elements of the apprenticeship, as well as support for the end-point assessment.
Coaches work one-to-one with apprentices to support their individual needs, and ensure they have all the relevant resources to complete every aspect of their learning.
Rob Weaver, one of Reed Business School’s coaches, says “Your coach is there for you. We want you to succeed, and you’ll get as much out of the programme as you’re prepared to put into it.”
“The role of the coaching sessions is to help develop the apprentice to improve their performance to get the results they and the employer identify (or want) and ultimately to help them be the best accountant they can be”.
Want to find out more about undertaking an accountancy apprenticeship? We’re happy to answer all your questions! Please click here How to reach us – Reed Business School to get in touch, or for more information on apprenticeships please click here Apprenticeships – Reed Business School.