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Accounting Apprenticeships and Why They're Great by Kelley O'Donovan

This article was written as a partnership between findcourses.co.uk and Kelley O'Donovan from First Intuition, an accountancy training provider with centres across the country.

First Intuition offers students the opportunity to study for a range of accountancy qualifications, including AAT, ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW. 

accounting-apprenticeships-kelley-odonovan


Accounting Apprenticeships for individuals

Not sure whether an accounting apprenticeship is right for you? Find out more about what taking an accounting apprenticeship involves, how it's taught, why it might be better than a stand-alone training course and hear a success story of an accounting apprentice.

1. What kind of skills do you need to work as an accountant?

"People often think the role of an Accountant is purely about having a great technical understanding however the other non-technical skills such as teamworking, integrity, communication and problem solving become key as you progress through your career and into management.

As I have held a variety of roles over the past 15 years I would say there are a number of key skills that stand out. Problem solving and communication have been key in my more recent roles especially where I manage teams of people. No two weeks are the same and we often have to work as a team to solve training needs for clients, suggest appropriate courses for students or deal with changes in legislation and funding rules surrounding Apprenticeships."

2. How do you think accounting apprenticeships help promote learning and development?

"Apprenticeships actively promote learning and development in a number of ways. All apprentices will complete either a portfolio or project report which helps to show their development. 

We employ dedicated Skill Coaches who work with our apprentices to ensure they are seeking opportunities to challenge themselves. This process helps them to reflect on what they could improve upon and to develop a continuous improvement mindset.  Working with their Skills Coach, the apprentice will set milestones which will be tracked and discussed as part of their ongoing development with us and their line manager."

"Apprenticeships actively promote learning and development in a number of ways. All apprentices will complete either a portfolio or project report which helps to show their development."

- Kelley O'Donovan

3. Why (and when) are accounting apprenticeships better than traditional training courses?

"For us, offering apprenticeships in accountancy is not just about the technical knowledge students need to have.

We’re passionate about giving the apprentices who study with us, the wider skills needed to be successful in business. This means that in comparison to a traditional training course, our students attend workshops on teamwork, problem-solving, project management, leadership and communication."

4. On your website, you say that one of the biggest rewards is seeing what your learners go on to achieve in their career. Can you give us an example of a journey that stands out to you?

"One of our students who really stands out to me is Jodie Taylor who gained a degree in film studies, went travelling and took a job in retail when she returned.

Jodie realised after a year that retail wasn’t for her and applied for an admin job at Milbank Concrete Products Ltd. It was here that Jodie was put forward for an Assistant Accountant Level 3 apprenticeship which she successfully completed earlier this year. 

Jodie has now started her ACCA studies, also as an apprentice, and is well on the way to becoming a qualified Accountant.  What makes Jodie’s journey really stand out is that she has dyslexia and taking exams does not come easy to her, but she has been determined not to let this get in her way."

"If you feel that you have skills and behaviours, you’d like to develop then an apprenticeship is right for you. Alongside this, if you like having a structure to work to and ongoing support, then this is exactly what you get with an apprenticeship"

- Kelley O'Donovan


Accounting Apprenticeships for Companies and Businesses

Considering investing your levy fund into accounting apprenticeships for your team? Read Kelley's advice on accounting apprenticeships for business, why professional training should be a continued priority.

5. Why do you think professional development is important? Is it more important today than it was 5 years ago, or less so?

"I believe its more important than ever that employees are developed professionally, as well as technically. Training our students in these wider skills makes them more rounded employees and takes the pressure away from busy employers to try and cater for this development in-house.

We find that these days, employers need people who have more than just the technical skills to do a particular job. They’re increasingly looking for people with wider business skills and apprenticeships are an excellent way to ensure their employees are developing these skills. We track the behaviour of apprentices in key skills which helps them to see their opportunities for growth, which they can work on as part of their employment and apprenticeship."

6. What would you say to a business unsure whether to spend their levy on apprenticeship training (and simply pay it as a tax instead)?

"If you have employees that you’d like to train and develop then apprenticeship schemes are an excellent resource.

By investing in your employees in this way, it gives you the opportunity to put something back directly into your business.  In comparison to bringing in external consultants or funding this type of training yourself, the cost for levy payers is also very low."

"People often think the role of an Accountant is purely about having a great technical understanding however the other non-technical skills such as teamworking, integrity, communication and problem solving become key as you progress through your career and into management."

- Kelley O'Donovan


Is an accounting apprenticeship right for me or my business?

"If you feel that you have skills and behaviours, you’d like to develop then an apprenticeship is right for you. Alongside this, if you like having a structure to work to and ongoing support, then this is exactly what you get with an apprenticeship.  Having a solid plan for both your technical and business development gives you a real sense of being on a career path. Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, the wider skills you’ve gained, alongside your technical qualification give a real boost to your career prospects and employability.

First Intuition is an accountancy training provider with centres across the country. We offer students the opportunity to study for a range of accountancy qualifications, including AAT, ACCA, CIMA and ICAEW. 

We feel that what sets us apart in this market, is our commitment to providing a more personal experience and a warm, friendly environment where our students feel like they are an individual and not just a number.

When we started out, many of our courses were studied by individuals who were self-funding or were having their tuition paid for by their employer. In the past few years, this has changed dramatically, and we now have many students who are working and studying as an apprentice."

Accounting Apprenticeships: Frequently asked questions

What qualifications do you need for an accounting apprenticeship?

Depending on the apprenticeship level, you will likely need either two GCSEs (grades A*-C or equivalent) or two A-Levels (grades A*-C or equivalent)

How long is an accounting apprenticeship?

An accounting apprenticeship will take between 12 and 36 months to complete, depending on the level. 

Can you become a chartered accountant through an apprenticeship?

An accounting apprenticeship at undergraduate level (levels 6-7) will give you the qualification you need to enrol in the chartered accountant preparatory programme. 

Accounting apprenticeships for individuals

Find accounting apprenticeships for businesses

Last updated: 09 Oct 2019

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