One hundred and fifty jobs are to be created in NI though an accountancy apprenticeship programme which allows applicants to earn while they learn.
The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy is a work-based learning programme where locally-based apprentices will earn at least the minimum wage whilst studying for an industry recognised professional qualification and it is available through the South West College.
Accounting Technician apprentices work in a practice, financial service, or public sector organisation for four days a week, and spend one day a week studying in a six colleges province-wide including Omagh during the two-year programme which begins this September.
Now in its fifth year, the apprenticeship, which is funded by the Department for the Economy, offers a Level Five Diploma for Accounting Technicians awarded by Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI), and is equivalent to a Foundation Degree.
The practical nature of the programme, earning while you learn, and having all tuition fees fully-funded makes the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy particularly appealing to school leavers who prefer learning by experience to full-time college education, according to Gillian Doherty, Chief Operations Officer at Accounting Technicians Ireland.
She said: “When students complete the apprenticeship programme, they will have a strong, in-demand accountancy Level Five Diploma, two years of solid work experience and the opportunity, if they wish, to progress to further study in accountancy, business or finance.”
“This is a pan-sectoral programme which meets the needs of industry, practice and the public sector, and graduates enjoy exemptions from the full range of professional accountancy bodies including Chartered Accountants Ireland.”
The apprenticeship is also an attractive option for existing employees who wish to upskill in a new job role and mature learners who would like to pursue a career in accounting and gain professional qualifications. There are currently 112 businesses employing 150 Higher Level Accounting Technician Apprentices across NI. From September, 2019, the Northern Ireland Audit Office will also join the scheme and are currently looking to recruit at least three apprentices. More public sector organisations are scheduled to sign up.
Accounting Technicians Ireland is the leading professional body for Accounting Technicians, with more than 10,000 members and students across the island of Ireland. With offices in Belfast and Dublin, ATI has strong partner links with all further education colleges across the province. For more details of the apprenticeship contact ATI’s HLA Programme Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or: Belfast Metropolitan College www.belfastmet.ac.uk, Northern Regional College www.nrc.ac.uk, North West Regional College, www.nwrc.ac.uk, South West College www.swc.ac.uk, Southern Regional College www.src.ac.uk, South Eastern Regional College www.serc.ac.uk