Apprenticeships and Funding

Apprenticeships Good for Business
 

With our Flexible Apprenticeships, there is no set course timetable (unlike traditional classroom courses) so apprentices can start their course at any time. They can also sit their exams when they are ready, not when a class timetable tells them to. When we perform our site visits, we are able to provide 1:1 tutor guidance, often working through feedback on progress tests submitted since our last visit. This, with the tutor contact in-between visits, often means that apprentices get more 1:1 support than they would on a traditional classroom-based course.

During the initial visit and at each subsequent visit, we will discuss plans and progress with the employer as well as encouraging the apprentice to relate their studies to the workplace and to realise that their studies are as much about developing their accounting skills as it is about passing exams. We don’t want them to qualify and still not be able to balance the bank!!

We will work with you to devise a bespoke apprenticeship. You can choose how long the apprenticeship will take (minimum 12 months), what qualifications, if any, you would like your apprentice to undertake, and what additional skills and behaviour training your apprentice will receive. Before starting your apprentice on their programme, we will need to meet with you to discuss what your, and your apprentice’s, needs are.

Who Can You Offer Apprenticeships To?

Apprenticeships in Accounting are suitable for any staff working in a junior finance role. Apprenticeships combine developing appropriate skills and behaviours along with gaining formal AAT qualifications. Apprenticeships are suitable for those brand new to finance with no experience, those looking to raise their skills in order to take on a more complex role, and those who have some experience but no formal qualifications.

We offer the apprenticeships under the new standards, which unlike under previous funding models, allow apprentices to be any age, and funding is still available to graduates (as long as they don’t have an accountancy/finance related degree).

Apprenticeship Requirements And Employer Responsibilities

The main requirements of an apprenticeship are:

  • The apprentice must be working in a finance related role
  • 20% of the apprentice’s working hours must be spent in off-the-job training
  • The apprenticeship must last a minimum of 12 months
  • The apprenticeship must be a “genuine job” whereby it is assumed the apprentice will remain in employment with you after their apprenticeship is complete

Off-The-Job Training

20% of the apprentice’s training must be “off the job”. This may include:

  • Time given at work or via day release to study for the AAT qualifications
  • Time spent in formal in-house training
  • Time spent in reviews (but not line management/mentoring).

The 20% may be achieved with regular time each week, less frequent day release or may be in a few large blocks. We will discuss with you how we can ensure you are meeting this requirement and still paying your apprentice the required minimum wage, all whilst keeping the time the apprentice has away from their desk flexible and suitable for your team’s needs.

We offer all day study sessions once a week in Exeter, Plymouth and Taunton. These are not formal taught sessions so students are able to work at their own speed, but the sessions allow students to work with a tutor and ensure they maximise their study time.

End Point Assessments

All apprenticeship must last a minimum of 12 months. Apprenticeships are assessed and graded solely on the “End Point assessment” (EPA). The EPA cannot be taken until at least 12 months after the apprenticeship start date. We will discuss with you and the apprentice when we all feel they are ready to undertake the End Point Assessment.

The End Point Assessment for the accounting standard is a combination of a work experience portfolio developed over the course of the apprenticeship with a reflective discussion based on this portfolio along with a real-life scenario, for which the AAT Synoptic exam is used. Other AAT exams will have no weighting on the outcome of the apprenticeship, so students gain the AAT qualification as a “bonus”.

The new apprenticeship standards do not stipulate any specific qualifications that must be achieved. However, currently the AAT is the only approved End Point Assessment Organisation, and their end of course Synoptic exams form part of their approved EPA. Therefore most accounting apprenticeships will see students study towards and achieve the related AAT qualification.

Over time we are likely to see other awarding bodies become approved End Point Assessment Organisations, who will have their own assessments. If you would like your apprentice to be assessed by an organisation other than the AAT get in touch and we can discuss your options.

What Level Of Apprenticeships Are There?

We currently offer the Advanced Apprenticeship in Accounting at Level 3.

There is no longer a Level 2 apprenticeship but we would not generally advise people with no experience to start their AAT studies at Advanced Level; therefore we can supply all the elements of Level 2 training, including the AAT Foundation Certificate in Bookkeeping or Accounting, under the Level 3 apprenticeship. This means apprentices will stay in learning until they have completed their Level 3 training, and undertaken the Level 3 End Point Assessment. We would expect this to take 12-18 months.

To ensure you get the most out of your levy spend (or co-investment), and your apprentice develops a full range of skills we will also provide:

  • Technical Training
  • Work Experience Portfolio Building Support
  • Skills and Behaviours Training
  • If you have any specific training you would like your apprentices to undertake, or if you already buy in training we can discuss the options of incorporating this into the apprenticeship delivery.

Funding

We are currently only able to offer apprenticeships to employers who are paying into the Government Apprenticeship Levy scheme, however we hope to be able to extend our offer to other employers in the near future. If you are non-levy paying employer interested in taking on an apprentice please get in touch for our latest updates.

Using Your Levy For Apprenticeship Training

You do not need to have the full value of an apprenticeship in your “levy pot” before starting an apprentice. As you pay into your levy monthly, you pay out to your training provider monthly. Funds are available for 24 months from the date they are paid in.

You will receive at 10% top up to your levy contributions, so for every £1 paid in, you will have £1.10 to pay towards apprenticeship training.

If you do have enough levy to cover the monthly payment, you will need to “co-invest” the outstanding amount each month. This will involve a 10% contribution from you, with the government contributing the other 90%.

We will agree with you the cost of the apprenticeship (accounting apprenticeships fall into Band 9, with a cap of £9,000), and what training you want included for your apprentice. The cost of the apprenticeship will include all the agreed training and the cost of the End Point Assessment. The funding rules do not allow costs of AAT student membership and individual unit exams to be included in this agreed cost so you will need to pay for these as required.

Incentive Payments

If an apprentice is aged 16-18 on the day they commence their Apprenticeship then you are entitled to a £1,000 incentive payment. This is paid in 2 instalments – 50% after 90 days, and 50% after 365 days of the apprenticeship commencing, assuming the apprentice is still in learning on these dates. The money is paid to the training provider and must be paid onto the employer within 30 days.

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