Kelly Huntington is a Regional Account Manager here at AAT. Kelly has introduced AAT into a range of schools, predominately sixth form colleges and academies. Kelly is seeing first-hand how sixth formers are benefiting from studying AAT vocational qualifications alongside A Levels.
The introduction of the new government legislation that will require young people to stay in education until they are 18 (from 2015) has created the opportunity for AAT to work with schools, colleges and academies. Not only does the government want people to stay in education and training until they are 18, they also want the level of Maths and English to be improved across the board.
The opportunity presented itself for us to talk to tutors and teachers nationwide about how finance and accounting vocational qualifications could help those that have a head for numbers increase their current potential.
AAT qualifications are studied by those at different stages of their life and one of the main reasons people choose AAT is because our qualifications are valued by employers. Those six formers that know they want to work in the finance or accounting sector can therefore see the benefits of studying with us and getting our qualifications on their CVs.
The AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting (QCF) has been included and recognised as a Tech Level, the only finance and accounting qualification to be recognised in this way and included in the league tables from 2016.
It’s big news for us as it means that parents and students now have a benchmark to understand the ‘worth’ of these qualifications. This is quite rightly needed as so many vocational qualifications were deemed inadequate back in 2012 following a thorough report by Alison Wolf.
It is a huge benefit for schools and academies to offer high value vocational qualifications alongside their A Level offering, giving young people more choice to the way they study and learn. The recognition through a Tech Level gives school leavers and sixth form prospects reassurance that they are studying a meaningful qualification that correlates to the labour market (Tech Levels have to be supported by employers). We also offer a flexible way of learning that is liked by schools, colleges and academies.
At John Ruskin Sixth Form College, Croydon they are seeing pupils taking Level 2 of the core AAT qualification as part of the college’s apprenticeship programme. This is the first year they have embedded the Level 2 qualification into the curriculum and next year they will have a bigger cohort of students come forward to study this way.
In Ashford, Kent, we are working with Towers school and Sixth Form Centre. We will be offering our bookkeeping qualification as part of their curriculum. The qualification will be offered alongside our core Level 3 AAT qualification and students taking this qualification will gain an understanding of financial transactions and financial reporting – a major element of accounting.
The major benefit for the student is that they can get a real feel for accounting before deciding if this is a path they wish to pursue. Learning a qualification like our Level 3 AAT core qualification as well as getting stuck into our bookkeeping qualification is always of benefit. Finance skills are highly sought after, valued and needed across any industry sector and also are of huge benefit for anyone looking to develop a business from a grassroots level.
While it’s still early days for us, we are excited to be working inside the education system. We do a lot of work with employers so it makes sense for us to also work with young people, teachers and tutors.
It’s important that we continue to develop qualifications that give insight, knowledge and skills that are needed in our society. Research we conducted clearly shows that society needs to offer young people more choices and that we need to get better with giving young people accurate and impartial career advice.
We want to ensure we continue to promote high value vocational pathways so that our youth can see the true potential of where these qualifications lead. In turn, we hope to break down myths and slowly change people’s perceptions.
The Regional Account Managers are each writing a blog for us every month on AAT Comment. Next month, Lea Watson will be talking about AAT’s apprenticeship offering and catch up on the blog post from Justin Kyriakou last month talking about AAT and Post 92 universities.
Kelly Huntington is a Regional Account Manager for AAT.