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Understanding the Level 7 Apprenticeship

It is now possible for staff to train for the ICAEW, CTA and ACCA qualifications within the Government’s Apprenticeship Scheme. There has been a lot of publicity about this and we at HAT have been working hard to understand the implications for firms. We expect the vast majority of firms to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Scheme where possible and that most people seeking to join firms will be eligible for the Scheme.

The Apprenticeship is perhaps best seen as an envelope, encompassing the original qualification and adding additional requirements covering skills and behaviours, through additional training and monitoring. Your trainees will still study for the professional qualification as normal but both they and the firm will have additional obligations as explained below.

Firms must provide apprentices with at least 20% ‘off the job training’ – this should be easy to achieve and will include existing exam courses; the HAT Career Development Courses, additional ‘soft skills’ training provided by Kaplan and internal training, whether formal inductions or updates that you provide for staff or informal ‘on the job’ training (although care must be taken that this is recorded as ‘training’).

Trainees must be able to complete their studies ‘in work time’ and must not be expected to pay for this – although this does not preclude trainees from revising and studying in their own time, courses attended will normally be during working hours (or time off in lieu provided). You also cannot require trainees to pay for resit courses or to repay exam fees if they leave within a certain period after qualification.

The key advantage for firms is that the Apprenticeship Scheme is government funded. This means that Apprenticeship Levy payers are able to use their own levy to finance the apprenticeship. Non-levy payers should be able to obtain funding of 90% of the fees paid to Kaplan, meaning their total charge for the training they provide for an apprenticeship (including the full ICAEW or ACCA qualifications) would be just £2,100. However, in addition to this, firms will need to pay exam entry and registration fees plus HAT’s Career Development Course costs, which although vital training are unfortunately not part of the Apprenticeship Scheme.

We expect firms to enrol most new trainees on the Apprenticeship Scheme and it will also be possible to transfer existing trainees who started their studies earlier this year to the Scheme to benefit from cost savings from the point of transfer onwards.

Duncan Frost from Kaplan will be providing more details of how Kaplan are approaching this change, including the transfer of existing students at the Student Committee Meeting Thursday 7 December and if you have any further questions before that please speak to Anna or Andrew in the HAT office.