‘Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers’

This week is National Apprenticeship Week and employers are highlighting that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers.

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This week marks National Apprenticeship Week and employers are pointing out that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers.

The Association of Accounting Technicians [AAT] points out that, although the common perception of apprenticeships is that they are aimed at school leavers and primarily focused on jobs in the trades, in fact apprenticeships are open to people of all ages and available in a wide variety of sectors, including accountancy. The AAT says it welcomes anyone who is interested in a career in accountancy or bookkeeping – regardless of age, background or school qualifications – and believes apprenticeships are a vital route into the accountancy profession, allowing people to study and work at the same time.

Anthony Clarke, Business Development Manager, (Employers), AAT, said: “Historically, apprenticeships were commonly perceived as only being open to young people and focused traditionally on manual sectors. This has changed significantly in recent years with the introduction of Apprenticeship Standards really raising the bar for apprentices and employers alike when it comes to skills development. AAT welcomes people regardless of age, school qualifications or background who are interested in a career in bookkeeping or accountancy – and is keen to encourage people of all ages to consider undertaking an apprenticeship to boost their in-demand skills for the future and go directly into employment.

“Apprenticeships also have huge benefits for employers, helping to develop well-rounded, highly qualified professionals who can help upskill the business as a whole. For employers who are already taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy, they can make the levy ‘work harder’ for them by using apprenticeship pathways to support current colleagues’ development and progression, as well as recruitment of new talent.”

KPMG has also been supporting apprentices during remote Covid working and took on 220 new apprentices in October, supported through remote on-boarding processes.

Emma Noble, KPMG360° Apprenticeship Performance Leader, KPMG, said: “Since all 17,000 KPMG employees – including our 600 apprenticeships – moved to remote working in March 2020, we have supported our apprentices by encouraging them to continue working on their Skills and Behaviour submissions and End Point Assessment activity. This helped them to remain engaged with the programme and ensured they had ongoing contact with the training provider coaches. Additionally, we chose not to rotate our apprentices into new teams in May 2020 so they would be able to stay with the team they had worked with in the office for six months, rather than having to adapt to a new team and learn a new area of the business, and encouraged our apprentices to support each other as well as reminding them of Covid support options and initiatives.”

She added that KPMG also worked with its training provider to provide additional support for apprentices, including extra self-study days, relaxing criteria around the number of exam attempts permitted and providing live support sessions for each module which were tailored to best suit the students attending. They were also given an opportunity to ask questions before their exam and access to online forums.

Insurance firm Aviva is also emphasising that its apprenticeships are not just for younger people. Sophie Gray, Apprenticeship Lead at Aviva, said: “We’re passionate about our people and want them to be able to learn in the way that best supports them in their career, whatever point in life that may be. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn both for people carving out their very first career or for those looking to equip themselves with new skills or a new challenge at Aviva.

“The ability to earn while you learn is highly motivating for ambitious people and we’re really proud that many of our apprentices have continued their learning with a second apprenticeship with some securing promotion as a result.”

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