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A useful guide to apprenticeships for all employers. Take a look at information around apprenticeships, the benefits and the employers’ funding available.

Across a wide variety of industries in England, employers are increasingly taking up the opportunity to take on apprentices and train the next generation of workers. The availability of funding provided by the government has made training apprentices even more attractive thanks to the apprenticeship levy.

Employers can make use of their own levy funds, receive up to 95% of government funding. This investment in future generations, particularly with ICAEW, helps to strengthen finance functions and generates a pipeline of competent, qualified future professionals.

Why should employers take on apprentices?

Hiring apprentices is an exciting way to effectively grow talent and nurture the next generation of accountants. A huge 86% of employers say that investing time into apprenticeship schemes helps to build and develop relevant skills within their organisation and 78% said apprentices helped boost overall productivity.

Although these figures are looking at the apprenticeship landscape as a whole, there are a whole host of benefits associated specifically with hiring accountancy apprentices through us. The apprenticeships route into chartered accountancy is the ideal way to equip both new and existing employees with the skills and knowledge needed to grow. Apprentices can be a highly cost-effective way to facilitate the professional growth of your team.

Attracting top talent

As one of the leading chartered accountancy organisations in England and Wales, we have the ability to attract the industry’s best up and coming talent.

Improve productivity

With 78% of organisations reporting that productivity improved when investing in apprentices it’s clear to see the benefit they bring. Once trained, apprentices help spread the workload and improve functionality at lower levels.

Develop financial and technical skills

As well as improving the overall productivity of your business or department, apprentices can help boost specific skill sets within them. For example, if you need technical support then training people up in this way gives existing team members the support they need and provides your organisation with a qualified employee at the end of their training period.

Professional accountancy qualifications

All apprentices have the opportunity to gain a professionally accredited qualification. This sets them apart from other trainees and provides legitimacy to your organisation upon completion.

Industry-leading training with high pass rates

Training with the ICAEW is of the highest quality. As the leading organisation for chartered accountants in England and Wales, the standard of our training programs is high. Along with quality training and education, the pass rate for apprentices remains high.

Create a loyal workforce tailored to business needs

Offering training in-house facilitates the creation of a loyal workforce, one that has honed its skills working on relevant tasks and in a familiar environment. Apprenticeships also lead to employees stepping right into a role knowing already the day to day processes in place.

How to Employ an Apprentice

To get started, you simply need to contact our team via the register your interest form - you will then be able to discuss your needs with our dedicated business development team. This team is here to guide employers through the process and find the right candidates for them.

When it comes to finding the right trainees to take on, you will have access to our large pool of talented candidates. This consists of the Available Student Register, our in-house ICAEW Training Vacancies website, ICAEW events and our national competition that identifies up and coming talent, BASE.

It’s important to remember that apprenticeships through the ICAEW are available to both new and existing members of staff.

How the ICAEW provides support

We are here to guide you through every step of the journey. We provide dedicated business development managers in each region, send out regular updates via our newsletter and provide access to helplines.

For trainees, we provide access to comprehensive learning resources, extensive study guides and planners as well as providing student support if and when needed .

Apprenticeship funding

Depending on whether you’re a levy or non-levy paying employer, there are different finance options available to you. There are several government-backed finance and grant options to consider, depending on the specifics of your business and the apprenticeship programmes on offer.

Government grants

The government actively encourages the development of apprenticeship schemes through a series of financial incentives. In March 2021 an extension to funding was announced that meant for every apprentice hired between April and September 2021, employers were rewarded with £3,000.

These payments are made in addition to pre-existing incentives such as the original £1,000 awarded for each apprentice meeting workplace requirements and a 13.8% saving on NI for trainees aged 25 and under.

There are few restrictions placed on these cash incentives, they can be spent on anything to support operational costs. This includes salary payments.

Several requirements must be met for funding to be received:

  • Apprenticeships must last longer than one year
  • Trainee roles must be genuine for the duration of the apprenticeship
  • An apprenticeship agreement must be established and upheld with the apprentice
  • A commitment statement has to be signed by the employer, apprentice and registered training provider
  • A written contract is drawn up and signed detailing services agreed on with the training provider

The Apprenticeship Levy

The UK government introduced the apprenticeship levy to allow for more control when providing training. This introduction means there is now more funding available than ever before and allows employers to choose which apprenticeships they offer with greater flexibility.

Employers across the UK who pay more than £3m per year in wages are charged a 0.5% levy. Employers can then choose to spend their funds on apprenticeships like the accounting and finance ones offered by ICAEW.

For those who do not pay the levy, funding is available from the government-employer co-investment. Employers who do not pay the 0.5% make a contribution of 5% to the co-investment, with the government making up the remaining 95%. For more information, you can read our full guide to non-levy paying employers.

Apprenticeships available from ICAEW

We offer a range of tailored apprenticeship schemes that are targeted at both entry and more senior levels.

Our Level 4 Accounting Technician program is suitable for students working in business, practice, government and charity sectors. For the full breakdown of what our Level 4 apprenticeship offers please visit the dedicated section.

We also offer a Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship for more experienced students. This scheme is aimed at those looking to become fully qualified as accountancy professionals. For full details on entry requirements and what the course covers, head to the level 7 professional apprenticeship page.