The new apprenticeship system

CIPFA has been supporting the development of young people into public financial management careers for many years, including running our own programme of bespoke apprenticeship trainee placements, under the CIPFA Accountancy Apprenticeship scheme.

The new Apprenticeship Levy, together with the proposed Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship Standard, will shift the landscape considerably.

At CIPFA, we have been at the heart of these new developments and are uniquely placed to support employers as they plan to maximise the opportunities of the Levy – both in our capacity as a professional qualifying body, and as a respected training provider, through CIPFA’s Education and Training Centre.

What will CIPFA offer?

Whilst final details are still being confirmed, our intentions are as follows:

AAT Levels 2, 3 and 4

Through the CIPFA Education and Training Centre (CETC), we intend to become a registered training provider for Levels 2, 3 and 4 Accountancy Apprenticeships, working with AAT as the End Point Assessment (EPA) organisation.

Proposed Level 7 Professional Accountant

Through CETC we intend to become a registered training provider for the proposed Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship. Our intention is for CIPFA (the Institute) to be the EPA organisation at Level 7.

In practice, what does this mean

It is expected that employers in England will be able to use their Apprenticeship Levy accounts to fund the training costs of their new and existing finance trainees who are eligible to transfer across to the new Level 7 Apprenticeship programme.

The new Apprenticeship incorporates additional requirements to the existing professional qualification such as employer visits, regular reviews with apprentices and you as the employer. However, the additional requirements are designed to support the apprentice through the programme and ensure they are fully prepared the successfully complete the programme ultimately satisfy the requirements to become a Chartered Accountant.

The proposed Level 7 Professional Accountant Apprenticeship funding value has yet to be confirmed, however we expect to be offering a pricing structure which is extremely competitive.

What about the ‘CIPFA Accountancy Apprenticeship’ Scheme

For the past four years, CIPFA has pioneered a trainee placement scheme, where the Institute has directly employed suitable candidates and placed them with organisations for approximately one year whilst they work in a trainee capacity and undertake an AAT Level 4 qualification.

Our partner organisations have contracted with CIPFA for the placement of the trainees as working apprentices within the organisation, with CIPFA acting as the contracted employer of the trainee.

In addition, some employers have chosen to act directly as the employer of any trainees, placing them with CIPFA for their Level 4 training and qualification.

Under the new system, we anticipate that many employers in England will wish to work under this latter model, directly employing any apprentices, in order to leverage funding through the Levy.

We will therefore continue to offer AAT Level 2, 3 and 4 training to support this.

Outside of England, the application of the Levy looks likely to differ, so for those employers who wish to continue with the existing ‘placed’ arrangements, we are more than happy to discuss specific requirements.

However, we will need rename the current ‘CIPFA Apprenticeship Scheme’ in order to avoid confusion with the new national apprenticeships under the Levy.

What about Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Although the changes outlined here apply in the main in England alone, we are continuing to work in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to understand the impact of the Levy and how organisations are intending to work around the recruitment and training of AAT and Professional Accounting trainees and apprentices.

What next

We will be contacting all our current employer organisations and students over the coming weeks, in order to understand requirements, questions and assess the impact around Levy-funded Apprenticeships.

We’ll also be developing systems and processes to ensure that the new methodology is the least bureaucratic it can be.

Since this is a rapidly evolving landscape, we will continue to share information as it becomes available.

A new online learning platform for the CIPFA PQ

In addition to the changes around the Apprenticeship Levy, we have some exciting changes on the horizon around the way that students can study the CIPFA PQ.

This summer the CIPFA Education and Training Centre (CETC) will be delivering a new online learning platform.  Development work is well underway to create an easy-to-use, flexible platform that provides a first-class learning experience for CIPFA students and the best value for money for employers.

The new online service will offer all of the features expected of a contemporary online learning platform, and we'll also be simplifying our face-to-face, online and distance learning packages, making it easier to create a blended study bundle that works for employers and our students.

We have information available in summary on our website for employers and students, and we'll be sharing more information over the coming weeks.

Contact us

If you have any questions on the new apprenticeship arrangements, starting a new apprentice - or our new online learning platform, please let us know using the using the appropriate contact forms at the top of this page.

Useful Apprenticeships links:

GOV.UK Apprenticeships
GOV.UK Apprenticeship funding
Skills Funding Agency