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An important part of gaining your ACA qualification is securing your training agreement (also known as a training contract). An ACA training agreement is the joint agreement between you and your employer.

Unfortunately we are in a very challenging economic climate in which you may find yourself at risk of redundancy. Understandably such an experience is extremely distressing, but if it does happen to you it's important to try to keep as calm and focused as possible. This will maximise your chances of completing your training and studies elsewhere.

Before you leave your current employer, make sure:

  • your practical work experience days, professional development and ethics and professional scepticism progress are up to date within your online training file, so that you have the latest records to take to your new employer;
  • you have asked your current employer to act as a referee; and
  • you have asked whether they can recommend you to any of their business or client contacts.

If you have almost completed your training agreement, it is worth asking your employer if they could delay your redundancy, perhaps allowing you to complete project work from home, to allow you to complete your required 450 days of practical work experience.

It may also be possible for them to help you find a secondment with another company. Advice on spending time on secondment is available from our student support team.

Flexible working/reduced working hours

As an example working four days a week.

  • Provided students achieve over 35 hours in the four day period, the full five days per week will still count towards their 450 days of practical work experience and their three-year training agreement period, so their training agreement end date will not need to be extended.
  • If you are interested in this option, the QPRT will need to confirm that the student will be achieving over 35 hours during their four-day working week.


ICAEW regulations allow students to take up to three months out during a three-year training agreement without the need to suspend the training agreement. However, if the student takes more than three months during that time, the training agreement would need to be suspended at that point.

You need take no action until a student’s sabbatical exceeds three months during their training agreement. So a student could still take a sabbatical of six months but this would need their training agreement to be extended for three months.


Time spent on secondment to another organisation can also count towards the student’s practical work experience requirements.

Please note that there are some secondment restrictions to adhere to, these include:

  • No more than 50% of the total practical work experience should be in a different authorised office.
  • No more than 33.3% of the total practical work experience should be in any unauthorised training employer.
  • No more than 50% of the total practical work experience should be in a combination of the above.

Advice on secondments is available from the helpline on our student support team.

Student support team

The ACA student support team is here to help. We recommend that you contact us via our Live Chat or chatbot Mia first.

Your training file

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