Profession develops new apprenticeship standard

Share this content

A number of professional bodies and professional firms including the Big Four have joined together to develop the new professional accountancy standard, an apprenticeship scheme aiming at attracting school leavers into the accountancy and tax professions.

Apprenticeships were traditionally found in manual trades such as plumbing and carpentry, but the accountancy/tax technician standard now offers a route into accountancy through a higher apprenticeship programme.

Professional bodies have collaborated with employers in delivering the standard as part of the government’s trailblazer initiative. Apprenticeship candidates will learn a number of requirements including technical knowledge, regulation and compliance, and ethical standards, as they study towards a professional qualification.  

Young people have already established apprenticeships as a valuable route into a career, according to the 71% who responded in an ACCA research project.

Firms already signed up to offering the standard include KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte and a range of large and small employers from the sector.

ICAS, ACCA and ATT have all welcomed the opportunity alongside other professional service firms to develop the employer-led standard. The professional bodies all emphasised how the apprenticeship will benefit young people. ACCA head of education Dorothy Wood praised how the new imitative will give young people “unfettered access to the profession irrespective of their background”.

ATT’s president Michael Steed echoed this, noting how the apprenticeship standard"has the potential to increase the diversity of the profession”. ICAS executive director education Mark Allison added that the new standard would “create new opportunities for young people”.  

Nadhim Zahawi MP, the prime minister’s adviser on apprenticeships, said: “It is really welcome news that the new standard is being brought forward – as it will not only mean great opportunities for young people to develop a career in this sector, but that the training and skills they will receive has been designed by employers who know exactly what the next generation needs to thrive and go far.

About Richard Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.


Please login or register to join the discussion.

23rd Mar 2016 08:56

This is great

however the youngsters won't respond.

We have had two apprentice and now are training a third. All have said, although it gave them a good grounding, they won't be staying in practice.

This is borne out by my eldest son, who is qualified but will not take on my practice. The simple reason is that there is too much work and responsibility for the rewards. Basically Government have killed off the next generation of self-employed, which, obviously, was their aim.

Thanks (0)
29th Mar 2016 12:28

Work attitude

I think you are wrong in terms of apprentices. Where I work we have lots of them at varying standards and levels. Most of the apprentices go on to study either ACA or ACCA.


I think the problem you are finding is more the work attitude of the generation where everyone seems to expect something for nothing. Too many people I know seem to expect high wages and do the minimum hours they can or get paid overtime for every extra hour. Sometimes you have to work hard and show you are hard working to see the rewards in the longer term.

Thanks (0)
29th Mar 2016 13:23


Way back in the late 1980's; we used to specifically employ 16 year old Trainees with good GCSE's and good application skills, and not post A Level students.  They were employed by the Practice and were required to attend the local College on 1 day release and 1 evening per  week, to complete a BTEC Business Studies for 2 years.  Not only did this supplement their 4 days work in-house  whilst employed in the Practice gaining valuable work experience, but it gave them a good grounding of Business Studies and a valuable qualification independent in its own right.  

They then at age 18, commenced AAT Studies and were all successful in completing their AAT qualification by age 21.  As  a small Practice with exclusively a  SME client base (none of whom needed or desired to have Statutory Audits); these Trainees were by the age of 21, able to satisfactorily deal with Start-ups, Book-keeping (manual and computer), VAT Returns, Tax Returns, Annual Accounts Sole Traders, Partnerships and Small Limited Companies; including routine Company Secretarial matters .........almost every aspect of routine work that the Practice carried out. 

They were a much better contribution to the Practice, at age 21; than a Graduate age 21 with no work experience could ever have been.  Significantly, they had also developed a good work ethic, and a good range of 'people skills'; something that many of the usual Graduate 'intake' who expect high starting salaries, fail to have achieved.

Thanks (0)
29th Mar 2016 14:23


good point and you're right.

@turchyna I totally agree.

It appears then that the problem was Education, Education, Education.

Thanks (0)