What job role could you fill with an apprenticeship?

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This article is taken from our 7 easy steps to start an accounting apprenticeship.

Before we start with step one from our guide, there are two things we want you to know upfront. It’s actually easy to set up and run an apprenticeship:

  • The net cost is negligible – if you’re a small company with a salary bill of less than £3 million, the government will cover up to 95% of the training costs. Above this level, your company will already be paying the apprenticeship levy to the government, so you can use your levy pot to cover your training needs.
  • The work is manageable – you’ll partner with other organisations who will bring expertise and experience, handle the administration and manage the education of your apprentice.

Free guide – 7 steps to start an apprenticeship

AAT’s free guide to launching an apprenticeship in seven easy steps will walk you through the process, from job description to funding.


Recipe for success

A successful accounting apprenticeship will blend three key ingredients:

a suitable role in your finance team that you will fill or create through an apprenticeship

an appropriate qualification that the apprentice will earn

an apprenticeship programme that is designed to deliver the education and experience needed to acquire those qualifications.

Sometimes some simple advice and tweaking is helpful to balance these elements. This is where AAT can assist. AAT is a professional membership body specialising in accountancy qualifications to get started in the profession (as well as an approved End Point Assessment Organisation for the Accountancy Apprenticeship Standards at Levels 2–4).

Design your role

So the first question is, what kind of role are you hoping to fill with an accounting apprenticeship? Speak with colleagues to determine why and where your business needs an apprentice.

  • What skills gaps are you lacking in your team/ organisation?
  • Does your sector face any future disruption where your business might need new skills? Are you embarking on a digital transformation and need to inject some tech-literate talent?
  • Have you got an ageing workforce? Not only could apprentices be trained to replace these workers once they retire, but they could also bring in newer, younger clients.

Apprenticeships really fly when they’ve got a brilliant advocate for the scheme who’s a great mentor and spends time with them; ensure you’ve such a champion within your workplace.

David, Managing Director, First Intuition Chelmsford

Build in development

The role needs to allow reasonable room for the apprentice to develop.

“Look at the apprentice’s potential development,” advises David Malthouse, Managing Director at training provider First Intuition Chelmsford. “If you’re taking somebody on to become an accounts receivable clerk where all they’ll be doing is processing transactions, an apprenticeship will never work in that role.”
Apprentices don’t have to be school-leavers in their first job: they could be career changers or part of your existing workforce who want to progress their careers by acquiring new skills and qualifications.
“You might have a graduate working in marketing who wants to become an accountant or a middle-aged worker who wants more qualifications,” says Simon Deane, Director at training provider Accountancy Learning.

Identify a champion

Before implementing a scheme, identify a staff member who will manage and mentor the apprentice(s), such as a potential line manager.
As Malthouse notes, “Apprenticeships really fly when they’ve got a brilliant advocate for the scheme, who’s a great mentor.”

Key task: Prepare the job description for your apprenticeship role.

David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.

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