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There may be ways that we can help you and your students in situations where your organisation is considering making ACA students redundant.

Possible alternatives to redundancy

Rather than make your students redundant, you can consider retaining them by offering sabbaticals and/or reduced working hours. You can also consider them on secondment. This will reduce the cost of staff salaries for a time.

If your students are worried that these alternatives might extend the length of their training agreement, it is worth exploring the options below.

Flexible working/reduced working hours

An example of this option is working four days a week.

If students achieve over 35 hours in a 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 qualified person responsible for training (QPRT) will need to confirm that your students will be achieving over 35 hours during their four-day working week.


Our regulations allow students to take up to three months out during a three-year training agreement without the need to suspend the 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 don't need to take action until your 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 a three months.


Time spent on secondment to another organisation can also count towards your students' practical work experience requirements.

Please note that there are some 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 with an unauthorised training employer.
  • No more than 50% of the total practical work experience should be in a combination of the above.

If you are forced to make redundancies, please do let us know by email studentsupport@icaew.com or call us on + 44 (0)1908 248 250.

Continuing to study

Students can continue to study and take exams without being in a training agreement and they will continue to have access to a wide range of resources and services to help them in their studies.

They can also search for ACA training opportunities on our dedicated Training Vacancies website and join the Available Student Register.

Financial assistance and debt management help

Financial assistance may be available from CABA through their grant-giving schemes and longer term support. This may also include assistance towards tuition fees.

CABA can also provide emotional and practical support on a range of topics including stress management and bereavement.

Debt management advice and support is also available, so if your students are worried about making loan or mortgage repayments. All advice given is independent, impartial and confidential.