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Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship with ICAEW

Updated: 04 Apr 2022 Update History

Employers can now offer our globally recognised qualification, the ACA, on a government-funded programme, and set their students well on their way towards becoming fully qualified chartered accountants.

This page provides an overview of the Level 7 Apprenticeship for Accountancy Professionals with ICAEW, the Level 7 apprenticeship for the ACA CTA Joint Programme, the student journey and the assessments leading to the successful completion of the programme.

Throughout the apprenticeship, students will be working and studying at the same time, while developing the required knowledge, skills and behaviours, in order to qualify as an Accountancy Professional.

What’s involved?

The Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship offers employers the opportunity to train on our ACA qualification by using government funding available to them, whether they're paying the apprenticeship levy or not. The Level 7 apprenticeship is also available for the ACA CTA Joint Programme.

It's incredibly easy to train ICAEW students including those on the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship, but before you begin training, you will need to be authorised by ICAEW. Find out more about becoming an Authorised Training Employer

Throughout the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship, students will develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the standard. These will be gained through a combination of off-the-job training and practical experience in the workplace.

While funding is only available for the apprenticeship, there are many similarities between this route and "traditional" ACA training. Many elements of the ACA are included in the apprenticeship programme, such as the 15 modules and the six-monthly reviews.

However, there are some additional requirements for the completion of the apprenticeship; students on the Level 7 Apprenticeship will need to complete a Project Report as well as 20% off-the-job training. These elements are covered in more detail in the relevant sections.


The funding cap for the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship for Accountancy Professionals has been set at £21,000. To find out more about what the funding covers and which fees are included, please visit the relevant area.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for the apprenticeship, however minimum requirements do apply for the ACA.

Additionally, the apprentice must have a Level 2 in English and Maths before they attempt the end-point assessment. Employers may wish to set additional entry criteria to suit their organisation.

Study options

The delivery of level 7 apprenticeship can be flexible depending on the employer’s needs. We recommend that employers talk to a training provider about any requirements they may have, as they will be able to help design a programme to suit their business.

Levy-paying employers will be able to select from a list of approved providers from the ESFA’s Register of Training Organisations (RoATP), which is available online at gov.uk/esfa. For non-levy employers, we recommend they contact their local Business Development team member who can provide details of locally approved tuition providers.


The apprenticeship needs to be at least 12 months in duration and typically takes between 36-48 months to complete.


The  Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship is a perfect opportunity for employers to offer the ACA on a government-funded programme. Combining work experience and the ACA - our globally recognised qualification, this apprenticeship sets students well on their way to becoming a chartered accountant. Throughout the programme apprentices develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the standard and which are essential for a career in accountancy.

The employer, along with the tuition provider of their choice, assess each student's performance based on an on-programme and an end-point assessment. Once all elements of the apprenticeship have been successfully completed, the apprentice qualifies as an Accountancy Professional. Then, once all ACA requirements have been completed as well, the apprentice will become a fully qualified chartered accountant.

Off-the-job training

One of the requirements of the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship standard is that apprentices complete 20% off-the-job training. To find out more about what this involves please visit the relevant area.

Assessment overview

Throughout the professional accountant apprenticeship level 7 apprenticeship with ICAEW, students will be assessed through an on-programme and an end-point assessment.

They will complete the on-programme assessment as they progress through their apprenticeship. During the on-programme assessment, they will be studying towards the ACA, and will sit exams for 14 out of the 15 modules, except for the Case Study. As they study towards the qualification, they will also gain on-the-job experience and maintain a training file using either the employer’s accredited development programme or the ACA professional development key areas. 

Once the employer is confident that all the requirements have been met, including a Level 2 in Maths and English, the apprentice will move on to the end-point assessment, which comprises of a Case Study and a Project Report.

All training, development and review activities must have been completed prior to the end-point assessment.

ICAEW will provide students with documents that offer more detail on these and that will help them complete each part of their assessment.

The Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship can be used to deliver training for the ACA CTA Joint Programme. Students wishing to register for the joint programme as part of the Level 7 apprenticeship should register with both ICAEW (as a Level 7 ACA student) and CIOT in the usual way.

On-programme assessment

ACA exams

During their apprenticeship, students will need to pass 14 exams that cover the knowledge required by the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship. You can see what these modules cover by visiting the relevant page below:

Training file

Students will use a training file to keep a record of their professional development. This will help them to demonstrate their competence in the required knowledge, skills and behaviours as set out by the standard.

They will do this either through the employer’s ICAEW-accredited programme or the ACA professional development key areas.

The on-programme assessment is flexible in its duration and depends on the student’s progress.

Six-monthly reviews are required with both the employer and the tuition provider. The review with the tuition provider covers the apprenticeship skills knowledge and behaviours.  The review with the employer covers the ACA online training file requirements. These reviews will help identify whether the student needs any further training and whether they will be ready to move on to the end-point assessment.

Students should enter their unique learner number (ULN) and employer reference number (ERN) to the online training file as part of their registration process. This will allow them to apply for the end point assessment.


When making an application for the Case Study exam. A student will be confirming that they have passed their Gateway review with their employer and tuition provider. (The end-point assessment comprises the ACA Case Study and a Project Report.) By passing the Gateway review it enables the student to attempt the end-point assessment. The Gateway review is a government requirement under the ESFA Apprenticeship rules.

Employers should check that their apprentice has applied for the Case Study and/or the Project Report. This is done via the employer area of the website by logging in. If an apprentice has applied for the Case Study and/or Project Report and they have not passed the gateway, you should notify ICAEW that the apprentice should be withdrawn from the Case Study and/or Project Report. Notification should be sent to logistics@icaew.com no later than 3 weeks before the case study exam.

What is the 'Gateway'?

The Gateway is the point at which the employer, with the support of their tuition provider, determines whether an apprentice is ready to sit the end-point assessment.

At this point, employers will be asked to confirm that their students have:

  • completed a minimum of 1 year and 1 day on the apprenticeship programme
  • met the 20% off the job requirement
  • attained or demonstrated the required level in Mathematics and English with evidence of this being provided
  • demonstrated the achievement of the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the Apprenticeship Standard 1.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) mandates that an apprentice must have passed through Gateway before they can sit the end-point assessment. The end-point assessment comprises the ACA Case Study and a Project Report.

End-point assessment

After the student has completed the on-programme assessment and has spent a minimum of 12 months on the apprenticeship programme, the employer will assess whether they are ready to progress on to the end-point assessment.

The student will need to have achieved a Level 2 in Maths and English by that point.

The end-point assessment consists of two elements:

  • the ACA Case Study; and
  • a Project Report.

Students also will need to enter their unique learner number (ULN) and employer reference number (ERN) to the online training file before they apply for the end point assessment.

The ULN can be obtained from their tuition provider and you can provide their ERN.

ACA Case Study

The purpose of the Case Study is to assess the apprentice’s understanding of complex business issues, and usually takes place in the last 12 months of their apprenticeship.

For the Case Study, ICAEW will provide students with background information on a hypothetical scenario, which will be as close to a real-life situation as possible. Using that information, the apprentice will need to analyse the data, identify options and make recommendations, as they would as an Accountancy Professional.

The Case Study is 4 hours in length and will be sat under invigilated and timed conditions. To pass, students must achieve a mark of 50%.

The first Case Study exam for Level 7 apprenticeship students will be held in July 2019.

Project Report

The Project Report is the last element of the end-point assessment, and of the apprenticeship overall, and it will focus on the final 12 months of the apprentice’s programme.

Based on their work experience, apprentices will be required to answer 3-4 critical and evaluative skills and behaviours questions.

For this part of the end-point assessment, they will prepare a report, based on their own experience, for each of the questions. In this report, they will have to include:

  • a background and context to the situation identified in the question;
  • a description of their role, responsibilities and actions within this situation;
  • an evaluation of the skills and behaviours they used and developed; and
  • a critical examination of what they learned from this situation.

ACA CTA Joint Programme as a Level 7 Level 7 accountancy apprenticeship

The ACA CTA Joint Programme from ICAEW and CIOT (Institute of Chartered Taxation) can be studied as a Level 7 accountancy apprenticeship. Students will gain two qualifications, the ACA and the CTA.

Recruit an apprentice

If you're an employer, here are the options available to you if you wish to register students onto the Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship with ICAEW.

Option one

You can register students directly onto the Level 7 Accountancy Apprenticeship with ICAEW.

Option two

You may be able to transfer your existing ACA trainees on to the Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship, depending on how far along they are in their ACA training. Your tuition provider should be able to advise you on how to do that.

Option three

If you have any Level 4 Accounting Technician Apprenticeship students, they can progress onto the Level 7 Accountancy Professional Apprenticeship, once they have completed their programme.

For more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local Business Development contact, who will be happy to help you find a solution that will suit your recruitment needs.

Alternatively, you can email or call us using the contact details below.

E: bds@icaew.com
T: 01908 248 250

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