Professional services sector agrees apprenticeship standard

Leading professional services and industry employers, professional bodies and training providers have come together to develop a new apprenticeship standard for the audit, accountancy and tax professions.

The new standard has been developed to provide school leavers with a further route into the sector and develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours that they need to build successful and sustainable careers in business. The apprenticeship standard has been designed to meet the needs of employers and to enable apprentices to study towards a professional qualification, where required.

The Professional Accountancy / Tax Technician standard qualifies as a Higher Apprenticeship within the Government’s Trailblazer initiative. The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) welcomed the opportunity to work alongside professional services employers and other Professional Bodies to develop this new employer-led standard.

The employers, Professional Bodies and training providers share common ambitions to widen access to the audit, accountancy and tax professions, improve productivity and maintain quality standards.

The development of this new standard and its accompanying assessment plan will enable employers, both large and small, to invest in opportunities for young people. With support from training providers and Professional Bodies, employers will be able to broaden their search for talent and help their apprentices to succeed, irrespective of their background.

The employers involved in developing the standard include KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte and a range of large and small employers from the sector. Together, these organisations already offer a variety of entry routes to professional roles for school leavers and apprentices. It is hoped that the new standard will attract even more young people into professional services; offering employers greater opportunities to tailor their apprenticeships to meet their talent and productivity needs.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Prime Minister’s advisor on apprenticeships, said: “It is really welcome news that the new Standard is being bought 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.

It is great to see leading employers from this industry coming together to work collaboratively on this, and support young people to develop the skills they will need to be the rising stars of the future. This will create a whole host of new opportunities in this field, and I very much hope to be meeting many of the apprentices who will benefit from this later in the year.”

Suzie Webb, AAT’s director of education, said: “This initiative demonstrates the power of collaboration between companies and professional bodies which can lead to positive outcomes for both apprentices and their employers. We are pleased that AAT has played its part in the development of this new standard, and look forward to continuing our close work with the employers involved to ensure its successful implementation.”