Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Modern Apprenticeship in Accounting

The modern apprenticeship (MA) programme is one of Scotland’s National Training Programmes. Based on the traditional idea of the apprentice as someone who learns while they work, the MA programme is designed to bring benefits to both the individual learner and their employer.

Hire a modern apprentice (MA), and your organisation gets the skills and talent it needs. At the same time, your apprentice gets the opportunity to begin a rewarding career in the public services – with industry recognised qualifications based on highly structured training.

Detailed guidance for public sector employers

Comprehensive guidance for public sector employers is contained in ‘Moving forward with Modern Apprenticeships – A guide to establishing Modern Apprenticeship programmes in the public services’ (PDF, 5MB).

Your HR colleagues should be familiar with this and will be able to advise you on your internal policy and process for employing an MA.

For NHS Boards, SDS and NES has produced an illustrated guide to establishing MA programmes in NHS Scotland (PDF, 1.6MB).

NHS Scotland has established the NHS Modern Apprenticeship Network. This is a network of HR professionals from across all health boards in Scotland who will advise you on your internal policy and process for employing an MA.

How does it work?

Just like any other employee, you need to recruit and pay your MA’s wages and employment costs.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) then pay towards the cost of training (subject to conditions).

Funding is available to eligible trainees through Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to contribute to the costs of training an apprentice. SDS can also assist you with recruitment.

The training must be delivered by an approved training provider and lead to a nationally recognised vocational qualification.

CAPITA is an SDS-approved training provider and CIPFA has agreed a partnership with CAPITA to deliver and administer the training for the Modern Apprenticeship in Accounting The whole scheme is administered by CIPFA and CAPITA, including apprentice induction, training and funding, making it easier for you to take on an apprentice.

Funding for training an apprentice

The SDS contribution to the cost of training your apprentice is paid directly to the training provider (CAPITA and CIPFA) who will deliver the training for the vocational qualification. The training provider is responsible for registering the apprentice with SDS, and for drawing down the funds to cover the training element of the programme.

  • Government funding for training individuals aged 16 to 19 is available for the Accounting Framework at Level 2 and 3 only.
  • For the Accounting Level 2 Framework, the cost of training your apprentice aged 16 – 19 should be fully funded.
  • Individuals aged 20 to 24 studying Level 2 are eligible to receive funding but at the reduced rate of 50%.
  • Trainees aged 16 – 19 who directly start on the Level 3 Accounting framework should also currently be fully funded.
  • Funding for apprentices who progress from Level 2 to Level 3 currently receive a reduced level of funding of approximately 50%, so employers will need to make a contribution to the training.*
  • Funding for Level 4 accounting is currently minimal and will cover approximately 30% of the training costs for students aged between 20 and 24.
  • Government support for individuals aged over 25 who work within the public sector is restricted and the funding amounts for training is minimal.

If funding does not cover the training that your organisation needs, SDS can work with you to identify other ways to develop and support your workforce and you should contact them directly at

How many funded training places are available?  

CIPFA currently has 20 funded training places available.

Modern Apprenticeship in Accounting framework

The Modern Apprentice in Accounting framework is aligned to the AAT syllabus. 

What about progression through and beyond the MA?

Trainees who successfully complete each level of the MA will also gain recognised AAT qualifications at each stage and there is a clearly signposted route with exemptions to CIPFA’s Professional Qualification.

How do I register and enrol a modern apprentice?

Application forms for employers for the MA scheme are now available: 

Please register your interest and pledge to employ an MA to 

Recruitment: The employer to recruit and deal with all employment matters for the Modern Apprentice (age 16 – 19). Skills Development Scotland can assist with trainee recruitment.

Induction: Once recruited, the first cohort of Level 2 MAs will attend an induction day at CIPFA Scotland.

Start: CIPFA will commence training Level 2 MAs in the first quarter of 2016 (dates to be confirmed) at the new CIPFA Scotland offices at 160 Dundee Street, Edinburgh.

Can I train members of staff to gain an AAT qualification without registering a modern apprentice?

We would encourage employers to consider upskilling existing members of staff who would benefit from achieving the AAT qualification. CIPFA Scotland is now an accredited AAT tuition and exam centre. Existing AAT students can book and sit exams at CIPFA Scotland from early 2016.

How is tuition delivered

Tuition will be available both face-to-face and online.

For more information

Please contact Graham Divers at E:

*Funding is set by the Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland. CIPFA and CAPITA can therefore make no future guarantee on levels of funding available for training modern apprentices.