On the back of news that the AAT have just announced 3 new entry level qualifications which take up to 12 weeks to complete it would appear that the appetite for qualifications is there but are they being fulfilled?
I ask the question because recently it was announced that 48,000 people started apprenticeships in the final 3 months of the educational year to 31 July 2017 as compared with 117,800 in the same period the year before. Which is a staggering drop of some 59% which is frankly disturbing.
Small practice accountants have looked for ways to train and qualify staff and the apprentice route should be the way forward for many practices and their staff but if the numbers are to be believed then it seems that maybe the take up is not was expected.
Reported in The Guardian, Verity Davidge, head of education and skills policy at EEF, said: “Accessing the funding has proven complex and difficult to unlock in time and employers have struggled to get their heads around the complex rules and restrictions in accessing funds.” Tony Burke, assistant general secretary for manufacturing at the Unite union, said it had concerns about the lowest grade of apprenticeships and whether these were beneficial. He added that there was “a great deal of frustration” with the new scheme and further “Some businesses view this as a disaster. The levy has made things more complex so they are not taking apprentices on,”
Small practices need staff and we need trained staff and the apprentice scheme seemed a good way that small practices could train qualified staff at a sensible cost.
Let’s hope that the early promise of the scheme is not a false dawn and that the problems can be ironed out and we can help our staff qualify for a rewarding future.
Accounting Practice Online is part of the ICPA, which is an organisation designed to provide support and guidance for accountants in practice. With 35+ practice specific benefits there has never been a better time to join. Take a look at the routes to membership today.