100 job boost in NI accountancy apprenticeship programme

An accountancy apprenticeship programme which allows students to work, earn and learn is to create 100 jobs in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:16 pm
Zara Malcolmson, Rathfriland, Co Down, scored top marks on the island of Ireland as an accounting technician apprentice

The Accounting Technicians Ireland Higher-Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy is a two-year, funded, work-based learning programme in which locally-placed apprentices earn at least the national minimum wage and above.

Applications are now open for the programme, which starts in September, and is delivered through regional colleges in Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry, Lisburn, Newry and Omagh.

This Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week school leavers, A-Level students, career-changers and mature learners can apply through their regional college. The Higher-Level Apprenticeship provides an alternative for school leavers who prefer practical training to full-time college, or those who may have embarked on a university course and found it did not suit them.

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It is also an attractive option for existing employees and mature learners who want to pursue accounting.

Large firms and smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the programme.

A County Down woman who scored top marks on the island of Ireland as an Accounting Technicians Ireland apprentice has called for more students to follow her path.

Zara Malcolmson (21), from Rathfriland, went straight to the Higher-Level Apprenticeship run through Southern Regional College, Newry, after completing her A-levels. She attended college one day-a-week whilst the other four were spent working with SM Vint and Co Accountants, Banbridge.

Zara scored top marks in her year two exams and took up the offer of a training contract with SM Vint to further pursue a Chartered Accountancy qualification.

“I really enjoyed the work aspect, being in the office four days-a-week allowed me gain huge experience,” said Zara.

“Work colleagues passed on knowledge which I applied to my studies, as well as using it in day-to-day tasks. Also, the learnings and skills I gained from study modules were very applicable to the work I faced. The on-the-job experience I gained cannot be had from a typical university route, the apprenticeship makes study so much more employable. And you earn as you learn. It is state-funded, so there are no student loans and you bring home a salary

“Through taking on an apprentice, a business has the opportunity to mould a person into the employee it needs. After completing the programme there are many ways to further progress a career in accounting.”

An extension to the New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme was announced by the Department for the Economy earlier this month which aims to support employers recruiting apprentices.

Until March 2022, employers in Northern Ireland will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each apprenticeship created.

Gabriela Airini, Head of Apprenticeship at Accounting Technicians Ireland added: “Accounting Technicians Ireland is pleased our apprenticeship contributes towards job creation and business growth in Northern Ireland. Since the programme’s foundation in 2014, the Higher-Level Apprenticeship has been the source of over 500 jobs in Northern Ireland. Each year, more employers sign up and we now partner with over 100 employers across 13 sectors.

Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week runs until Friday, April 30. Led by the Department for the Economy, events will raise the profile of apprenticeships by bringing together third-level institutions, employers and councils.

It will highlight the benefits of becoming an apprentice and showcase how apprenticeships can strengthen and grow business, communities and the wider economy.

For more details, see accountingtechniciansireland.ie

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