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Secondments and part-time working

Secondments are a great way to gain different and varied work experience from another organisation as part of the practical work experience requirements of the ACA qualification. They can provide valuable career development opportunities for your students which will broaden their technical knowledge, professional skills and practical experience.

We define a secondment as work performed outside of a student's usual training organisation. For example:

  • an ACA student in an audit department of an accountancy practice could be seconded to a client to gain experience in management accounting; or
  • an ACA student training in a commercial organisation could be seconded to their organisation's external auditors to gain auditing experience.

Advice on secondments is available from our student support team, email studentsupport@icaew.com or call +44 (0)1908 248 250.

Time spent on secondment

There is a limit on the amount of time a student may spend on secondment. This depends on whether the organisation to which the student is seconded is an ICAEW authorised training employer or principal.

  • Students can gain up to one third of their total practical work experience on secondment to an organisation which is not authorised to train ACA students.
  • Students can gain up to one half of their total practical work experience on secondment to an organisation that is authorised to train ACA students.
  • Added together, the two periods above should not exceed 50% of a student's total work experience days.

You do not need to notify us of a secondment placement, unless the length of the period is likely to exceed the above limits. The total number of practical work experience days undertaken on secondment must be entered within the practical work experience tab of your students' online training file.

Arranging a secondment

If you are arranging a secondment for your students you are advised to:

  • notify the student in writing and prepare an agreement between you as the employer and the organisation to whom the student is being seconded, which will detail the work due to be undertaken;
  • consider the work planned for your students, particularly technical content, and personal and professional development; and
  • ensure that their studies, exams and professional development will not be interrupted.

If your student is due to have their six-monthly review while they are on secondment, then their review can take place with your organisation or the one where they are seconded. In the case of the latter, your student must ensure they discuss any exam, professional development and ethics progress with their qualified person responsible for training (QPRT) as soon as they return from secondment.

Audit experience and secondments

Please note that students may only count audit experience for Audit Qualification purposes if:

  • it is statutory company audit work or work similar to this; and
  • the student is able to undertake this work in a public practice organisation which is a registered auditor.

A secondment may therefore affect your students' eligibility for the Audit Qualification and this should be discussed and explored with the student beforehand, if appropriate.

Part-time working

ACA training may be undertaken on a part-time basis at the discretion of ICAEW and is subject to an appropriate extension to the length of a student's training agreement.

If your student is considering moving to part-time working, contact our student support team for guidance, email studentsupport@icaew.com or call +44 (0)1908 248 250.