The structure of Apprenticeships (nationally), are currently being redesigned and the Accounting Profession is in the forefront of this (Trailblazer Apprenticeships).
The following Standards have recently been introduced:
- Assistant Accountant Apprenticeship (Level 3. “Advanced”)
- Professional Accounting Technician Apprenticeship (Level 4. “Higher”)
- Professional Accountant Apprenticeship (Level 7. “Professional”)
Apparently currently only available in Wales….????
There will no longer be a Level 2 Apprenticeship; any Level 2 training needed will have to be integrated into a Level 3 or Level 4 Apprenticeship. The new funding mechanism should cater for this.
Assessment of these Apprenticeships will by an “End Point Assessment”. This will include two elements:
- A Portfolio of personal skills, including a Reflective Statement, for which evidence will be obtained from the workplace over the last 6 months of training (60%)
- A “Role Simulation” (40%). This should be a sort of case study, or scenario, that requires an apprentice to display the knowledge obtained over their apprenticeship.
Apprentices will be prepared for this via the completion of the exams included in the mainstream qualifications offered by the Professional Bodies.
These will generally be:
- For the Level 3 Apprenticeship: AAT Level 3 (and possibly some/all of Level 2)
- For Level 4: AAT Level 4 or ACA CFAB (or both??)
- For Level 7: ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA
However, these exams are not mandatory, only recommended. The only mandatory element will be the “End Point Assessment”
It also doesn’t matter which qualifications you do. One could sit the AAT’s level 4 “End Point Assessment” (including their synoptic exam) but sit the CFAB exams along the way.
Upon completion of the ICAEW level 7, apprentices (in Wales??) will be awarded:
- The ICAEW ACA qualification
- Level 7 Diploma in Professional Services
(Audit & Accountancy Practice) or (Tax), depending on the pathway followed.
Assessment plans have been approved for the Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships. I am not sure about the Professional yet.
As now, Apprenticeships must last at least 12 months, and the “end of programme assessment” cannot be completed until after 12 months. Although this could be a problem with the current structure of Levels 2, 3 and 4, it will hopefully be less of one, where one is combining Level 3 with parts of Level 2 and Level 4 might include progress on to a non-apprenticeship route or into Level 7, or might include AAT and CFAB.
Funding and funding mechanisms:
- Employers with payroll costs > £3 Million p.a. will pay a levy of ½% via the PAYE system into a digital apprenticeship account.
- They can then use this to contribute to any apprenticeship training purchased. If not used these funds will “expire” and so there is therefore a clear incentive to employ apprentices. “Use it or lose it”
- The government will provide a “top-up” of 10% (I think!)
- Employers with payroll costs < £3 Million pa will not pay the Employer Levy but will pay training providers directly for their training
- Although originally anticipated that the government will contribute £2 for every £1 paid by small employers, this has now increased to £9 for every £1, with a £9,000 cap for Levels 3 / 4 and £27,000 for Level 7.
- For apprentices aged 16-18 the government will pay small businesses a wage subsidy – currently proposed as £1,000 each to the employer and the training provider.
All of the above is still subject to revision, so watch this space! Final rules should be published in October.
“In October 2016 there will be information about apprentices starting from May 2017, including:
- final levels of:
additional support for 16- to 18-year-olds
English and maths payments
- final detailed funding and eligibility rules
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