Apprenticeship Week flags training options

One in four trainee accountants are apprentices at the top UK firms showing the changing face of professional training for aspiring accountants

The latest Accountancy Daily Top 75 Firms Survey showed that there are 20,000 trainees at leading UK firms with 5,000 on apprenticeships as opposed to conventional training contracts.

Around 20% of AAT’s 90,000 students are training as apprentices; and they represent all ages from school leavers through to career changers.

Now in its 13th year, National Apprenticeship Week will run from 3 – 9 February and will bring the apprenticeship community together with 394 events planned across the UK including business meetings, open days and celebration events.

This year’s Look Beyond theme focuses on diversity in apprenticeships. For the first time, there will be weekend activity with many employers opening their doors to young people and their parents at open day events.

There is plenty of activity on social media and people interested in finding out about apprenticeships can join the #AskAnApprentice Q&A on Twitter on Wednesday 5 February, while employers can find out more about recruiting apprentices on the #AskAnEmployer Q&A on Thursday 6 February.

Both Q&As run from 12 to 2pm, and people can follow the relevant hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation.

Despite the positive action, apprenticeship numbers have been hit by the apprenticeship levy.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) said that the government needs to do more to help smaller companies who are not aware of how the apprenticeship levy can benefit their business, even though they may not be responsible for paying the levy themselves.

While small businesses only need to pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training to access levy funding, there have been funding issues for some non-levy paying companies, leading to some training providers turning away would-be apprentices.

AAT said that smaller businesses need to be placed at the forefront – with funding opportunities clearly explained and made available – if apprenticeship starts and completion rates are to improve.

The government is also running an apprenticeship for budding economists called the Government Economic Service Degree Level Apprenticeship (GES-DAP).

This apprenticeship is an opportunity to work in a central government department or agency, while studying for a degree in economics at the University of Kent.

The entry requirements include a minimum of five GCSEs (including maths at grade B or above and English language at C or equivalent), or a minimum of 96 UCAS points under the 2017 tariff point system (eg, CCC at A Level or equivalent qualifications, not including general studies). Applications for the 2020 scheme close on 11 February 2020.

Keith Smith, director, apprenticeships group, Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) said: ‘It is fantastic to see so many events taking place across England I am enthused to be invited to such a variety of events this Week.

‘There is also lots happening across social media. Let’s all get behind apprenticeships and celebrate the opportunities apprenticeships present to fire up careers.’

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Accountancy Daily will be publishing exclusive interviews from accountancy apprentices and trainees every Friday starting this week to celebrate future accountants.

People can keep up to date with news on National Apprenticeship Week by following @Apprenticeships on Twitter.

To find a local event, visit the NAW events website

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