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First steps towards training apprentices

Keen to train new staff, but concerned about the costs, Viresh Paul takes a look at the new apprenticeship schemes.

Viresh Paul

March 2018

Small practices need trained staff and, talking to other small practitioners, I have found that most are put off by the costs of training. Could the apprentice scheme be what small practices need to train qualified staff at a sensible cost, I have wondered?

ICAEW's website will tell you that “the Level 7 Accountancy Professional apprenticeship is a perfect opportunity for employers to offer to train for the ACA on a government-funded programme”.

That sounded just the cup of tea, so I have explored a bit further and am happy to share what I have discovered.

Apprentices must have GCSE passes at grades A-C/grades 9-4 in English and Maths. Minimum requirements do also apply for the ACA and you can check these on the website. Of more importance to small employers, I guess, is the funding aspect.

See also: ICAEW Level 7 trailblazer in accountancy approved 

If you’re a non-levy payer, which we all would be, the government will pay 90% of the cost of the apprenticeship, so all you have to contribute is the remaining 10%. This means that the maximum amount available to you from the government is £18,900. This is to cover the training costs and is paid to the training provider. This doesn’t cover exam fees or the annual student fee.

As an employer, you are required to pay a competitive wage to the apprentice, but the training costs are basically covered and by providing on-the-job training, you will have trained your apprentice to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

The other requirement, of course, is that as an employer you need to be authorised. I was told this is a simple process that follows three steps, is free of charge and usually takes three to four weeks. You can apply by filling in an online application form to become either an authorised training employer (ATE) or an authorised training principal (ATP).

You can find candidates prepared to enter into apprenticeships by advertising your apprenticeship. Your training organisation will do this for you through the government’s find an apprenticeship service, or the ICAEW job portal.

I found the student support team at ICAEW was very helpful. You can email them on studentsupport@icaew.com.

Viresh Paul is Chairman of NW London Chartered Accountants

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