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Your training agreement

An important part of gaining your ACA qualification is securing your training agreement. An ACA training agreement is the joint agreement between you and your employer.

It is specific to your ACA training and it is not the same as an employment contract. The agreement outlines the support that you will receive from your employer and what is expected of you in return in relation to your training.

To become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, you are required to complete a training agreement with an organisation that has been authorised by ICAEW.

The training agreement is likely to cover:

  • starting time - training agreements can start at any time of the year 
  • the length of time your training agreement will cover
  • the number of exam attempts your employer will support 
  • what your employer will give you in study leave and how the exams should fit around your work

It is important that you read and understand the training agreement before signing it, as it is a formal agreement.

Securing a training agreement

If you don't currently have a training agreement,

Amendments to your training agreement

It is essential to keep us informed of any changes to your training agreement. This includes:

  • breaks in service
  • criminal offences and bankruptcy
  • part-time working 
  • suspension 
  • training agreement extensions.

Amendments should normally be notified to us by your employer, however it is your responsibility to discuss this with them to ensure we are informed of changes to your training agreement. If in doubt, talk with your qualified person responsible for training (QPRT).

Cancellation of a training agreement

Your training agreement sets out the circumstances in which it may be terminated and you are advised to review these clauses. In the ICAEW standard training agreement, clauses 21 and 22 relate to the cancellation of the agreement. The most common cause of training agreement cancellation, and therefore possible termination of employment, is exam failure.

The most common reason given by students seeking to cancel their training agreement is that their work experience is not sufficiently broad or challenging. You are reminded of the commitment that you have made to your employer, through the training agreement, which you are expected to honour. If you feel that you are not being provided with appropriate experience you must discuss this with your line manager, counsellor or QPRT. Your employer is investing a significant amount in your development, so in return you must make a valuable contribution to the organisation.

Your QPRT is required to notify us of the reason for the cancellation of your agreement, and whether, in their opinion, you are fit and proper to continue ACA training should you wish to do so in the future. You must therefore ensure that your conduct is professional at all times. A prospective employer will request a reference from your current employer confirming that you are fit and proper to continue ACA training.

Do not accept an offer of employment elsewhere without first discussing your training, development and reasons for wanting to leave with your QPRT or counsellor.

A new employer may ask you to complete a longer period of training by extending the length of your training agreement up to a maximum of five years. So you may find that it takes you longer to qualify if you change your employer during your training.

For further clarification or information on any subjects on this page please contact the student support team on +44 (0)1908 248 250.