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Will the Levy and the new Level 7 Apprenticeship change the way we train our accountants?

Two ladies talking

I’ve been in the accountancy training field for nearly 11 years and have never seen a change as big as the introduction of the Levy and the upcoming Level 7 Apprenticeship standard.

Previously, we have seen a big uptake in the Accountancy Apprenticeships with lots of top businesses supporting the school leaver route, however, nothing on this scale.

What’s changing and how will it affect the way we train accountants?

Did you know?

The new Level 7 Apprenticeships lets people gain a qualification equal to a masters degree, in many industries. The new scheme is open to anyone, regardless of previous qualifications.

The new Level 7 apprenticeship is due to be signed off in the coming months. It will mean that the training for all professional qualifications (ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA & CTA) could now fall under the apprenticeship scheme. Smaller businesses, who are not paying the Levy, may be able to claim up to 90% of the training costs covered by the scheme.Larger businesses, who are paying the levy, will be able to use their Levy pot to fund this training.

All of the age limits have been removed and individuals can now do an apprenticeship even if they have a degree.

Therefore, all of our existing graduate programmes could move to an apprenticeship programme.

Man talking to woman

Is this a good thing?

In my opinion, yes! The amount of training that companies offer trainee accountants varies significantly. Some businesses are offering extensive training programmes covering both the technical content and the soft skills needed to develop a good accountant, whereas others are not able to offer that level support, missing the soft skills. In some cases students do all of their training in their own time, with no support from their business.

I believe that the upcoming Level 7 Apprenticeship will make it a level playing field for everyone. Whether you work for a huge international accountancy firm or a small start-up business, the quality of training will be the same.

The new Level 7 Apprenticeships will not only cover the technical skills needed to qualify but also cover the soft skills required to develop a well-rounded accountant. The example milestone map below, shows how the Apprenticeship could potentially cover both the technical and soft skills an accountant requires.

Apprenticeships milestone map

How will this change the way our accountants train?

There is likely t o be a greater emphasis on the soft skills that all professional s need, and a newly qualified accountant will now have better communication, leadership, management and decision making abilities.

School leavers will have a much tougher decision to make; should they go to university or not? I expect those attending university are more likely to choose non-relevant degrees to enhance the skills not covered by the accountancy apprenticeship.

Finally all businesses, regardless of size, will be able to offer affordable, high quality training for their new joiners allowing them to develop better accountants. Therefore, we are likely to see increased competition in both school leaver and graduate intakes.

Matt Rawlins, Client Director, Kaplan UK & Ireland
has taken his extensive experiences of tutoring and marking at Kaplan, to now provides help and advice on Accountancy and Tax training programmes. This includes the designing and managing for both School Leaver and Graduate programme, to ensure the highest success rates possible.

Following the introduction of the new Apprenticeship Standards and the Levy he has been working with new and existing businesses to ensure they get the best value for money whilst providing the flexibility they need to grow.