How AAT-trained staff can help solve your business problems

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Spotlight on AAT apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week 2024.

As AAT President, and former apprentice, Kevin Bragg knows from his years of experience in the industry, apprenticeships are also a boon for employers.

“As an employer, I know apprenticeships work,” he says. “Apprenticeships have helped me attract a higher level of candidate – the kind looking to progress and define their career. I have recruited apprentices with a view to not just filling the role now, but to develop their future potential.

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“It’s about training providers and employers working together to produce capable finance professionals who are ready and motivated to be part of a productive team.”

So, as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2024, let’s take a closer look at how AAT apprenticeships both transform lives and help employers to develop the talent pipeline they need to drive their businesses today and in the future.

Why AAT apprenticeships make sense for so many

AAT apprenticeships provide a launchpad for a successful career in finance. All you need to qualify is to be over 16, have left full-time education, and have been a UK or EEA resident for at least three years.

What’s more, the scheme is carefully thought out and designed to offer all the support young people need as they start out in the industry.

“Young people need in-person help and mentoring to reach their full potential,” Bragg says.

“So, one of the big advantages of the AAT apprenticeship scheme is that it has built-in mentoring time to ensure the apprentices get the guidance and on-the-job experience they need.

“By the end of their training, they will have spent lots of time shadowing more experienced colleagues and have learned what the world of work is all about.”

However, as there is no maximum age, it’s also a great option for anyone looking to change careers.

Other advantages include the ability to earn while you learn, as well as the freedom to fit the exams around other commitments, from work to caring responsibilities.

As former AAT apprentice Laura Whyte, who now runs her own accountancy firm, says: “An AAT apprenticeship is a great way of joining up learning and working, and it opens the door to so many opportunities in a range of sectors because all companies need accounts departments of some kind.”

How AAT apprenticeships drive productivity

For employers, when an apprenticeship is married to an AAT qualification, it gives invaluable reassurance that new recruits can already manage tasks such as bookkeeping and cost analysis.

Bragg worked his way up from commercial apprentice to Finance Director and then Managing Director before becoming AAT President last year. He says: “From an employer’s perspective, apprentices can hit the ground running in a way those coming from purely academic backgrounds may not be able to because they are used to being in real-life workplace situations.

“So, when you take on an AAT-qualified recruit, you know he or she will bring a tool kit of skills to the business from day one.

“You also know that person has the determination, commitment, and focus required to make it through the exams and get their qualifications.”

Employing an AAT apprentice also allows companies to fill skills gaps at a relatively low cost, while also helping individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career within the business.

“There’s a reason why in trades such as plumbing, they operate a buddy system that allows new recruits to learn just by watching and settling into the day-to-day working routine,” Bragg says.

“But a lot of young people are missing out on that. And that means they are less ready for work in some respects.

“I started my career as a commercial apprentice at a manufacturing company, which involved going round every single department and gave me a real insight into how the company worked.

“It also helped me to learn how to analyse what people were saying, which is the type of real-life work experience some people coming out of university just don’t have.”

About National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy.

The theme of this year’s event, which will take place between 5 and 11 February 2024, is “Skills For Life”.

“Let’s use this week to recognise the hard work of employers, training providers, End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs), ambassadors and apprentices all of whom contribute to the success of apprenticeships across the country,” the Department of Education says.

Further reading

Find out more about apprenticeships

Find out how apprenticeships are run and see how AAT can support you with running your scheme successfully.

Start now

Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.

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