The Lowdown on Public Finance Apprenticeships Current Affairs
So you thought you had to go to university to develop a career in public finance? Think again! Johanna Courtney from CIPFA told us about the CIPFA Finance Apprenticeship scheme, which gives school leavers and career changers the opportunity to get straight into public sector accountancy, simultaneously gaining qualifications and work experience. CIPFA Apprentices Grace Gardner-Howard and Martin Stevens also gave an insight into their experiences on the scheme so far…
In September 2013, CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance) launched a pilot in the West Midlands for its Finance Apprenticeship scheme. The one-year apprenticeship offers employers the opportunity to nurture new talent within their organisations, enabling their young apprentices to gain valuable work experience while studying for the AAT Level 4 qualification.
Employers supporting the pilot included Grant Thornton UK LLP, Birmingham City Council, Coventry City Council, Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
Following the huge success of the West Midlands apprenticeship pilot, CIPFA is now launching the scheme across England, focusing on London, Manchester and Birmingham.
Sourcing future finance leaders
Recent figures for NEETs (Individuals not in employment, education or training) remain above one million. Half of those classified as NEETs are actively looking for employment and through no fault of their own, some of these young people find themselves unable to start their career. This is itself is a massive call to action for CIPFA to do something to help address the issue and help launch the careers of the finance leaders of tomorrow.
There has been a big push by the government to raise awareness amongst school leavers (and their parents) about the benefits of apprenticeships. CIPFA has been working hard to get the message out there: You don’t have to go to university to start a career in public financial management.
So what makes the CIPFA Finance Apprenticeship scheme different to all the rest?
Under the scheme people are employed and trained by CIPFA while in post with partner organisations. Unlike traditional government funded apprenticeships, the CIPFA Finance Apprenticeship is open to anyone who meets the required entry criteria. This means that there are no age restrictions so adults wanting a career change are able to apply.
Applicants need to have good Level 3 qualifications such as two relevant A-levels in maths or business for example, a BTEC National or AAT Level 3 with minimum retakes, plus GCSE maths and English at grade C or above. Anyone above the age of 18 is welcome to apply.
The one-year apprenticeship is managed by CIPFA. This includes all recruitment, selection, payroll and training, allowing employers to focus on nurturing new talent within their organisations and apprentices on gaining valuable work experience while studying for the AAT Level 4 qualification. As a minimum, apprentices will receive the National Minimum Wage for their age, (starting from £5.03 per hour), with some of our employer partners offering a higher rate of up to £7.45 per hour.
At the end of the 12-month contract the apprentice will be AAT Level 4 qualified and part CIPFA qualified. The roles they will do are varied from auditing to accounts based giving them a breadth of knowledge and experience.
At the end of the 12 month contract CIPFA will encourage partner employers to consider hiring apprentices who have successfully completed the CIPFA Apprenticeship scheme. If successful, the trainees would be expected to continue their studies with CIPFA, becoming qualified Chartered Public Finance Accountants (CPFAs) within two more years of successful study.
Even if the employer partner chooses not to hire the apprentice, the apprentices will have benefited from having gained a professional accountancy qualification and having gained plenty of work experience – leaving them in a fantastic position to continue their career path in accountancy, if they wish.
Grace Gardner-Howard, 23, CIPFA Finance Apprenticeship
What was your route onto an accounting apprenticeship?
I have been interested in accounting since I left school but didn’t actually start studying it until 2009. I previously qualified as a hairdresser and had been working in salons since 2007. I had my daughter 2011, then carried on working at the salon. I then decided to carry on studying accounting, and at that point this apprenticeship came along.
What made you choose to study a CIPFA Finance Apprenticeship?
I thought that it was a great opportunity to get some experience whilst gaining my qualifications. The work and study schedule suited my needs. I wanted to move on from just studying and work as well. When the CIPFA Apprenticeship came along it was what I needed to improve and move on from my previous studies. I was previously studying AAT Level 3 and I am now at the end of AAT Level 4.
What kinds of opportunities have been available to you through your apprenticeship?
CIPFA have given me more opportunities as I have been able to gain work experience that I may have struggled to get otherwise. I have been involved in interim testing on site with clients (local authorities) where we test the controls and systems in place.
I have also performed benefits testing where we have to test samples and ensure they are accurate. This will open many doors for me in the future that may not have been available without this experience. There is always the opportunity to get more qualifications, and also the chance to move up within the company and be given more responsibilities. I also feel that this will allow other employees to see that I am able to put the skills I have learned into practice in a real work environment, therefore opening up more job opportunities.
How has it helped you so far at work?
The CIPFA course supports my job role at Grant Thornton in Birmingham. What I study is very relevant to my job. I have covered units such as Financial Statements which has prepared me for the final accounts period, during which we go out to clients and carry out audits.
Another unit is External Auditing, which covers practically everything we do on a daily basis. It also gives an understanding of why auditors do the things they do. It helps you to have an understanding of what we are doing. This means that I am better prepared and have better knowledge and understanding when faced with new challenges at work.
So far I have enjoyed going out to clients and building up good working relationships. We have to communicate with them a lot while on site to get work completed. I have also enjoyed working with my colleagues at Grant Thornton, as everyone is very sociable and helpful. You definitely feel part of a team!
Tell us about your experience as an apprentice
As a CIPFA Apprentice I have been able to put the skills I learn when I am studying into practice. I have improved on my people skills as we have to approach clients and interact with them. I've learned what to look out for when going to clients and the best ways to approach and handle different situations when carrying out testing. This has increased my knowledge and shown me that what I am studying is used in a real work environment.
What would you to say to an apprentice considering a career in public finance?
Public finance can be very interesting and it is down to the individual to find out which parts you enjoy the most. I find it to be very rewarding, as you get to meet the clients and be a bit more hands on than you may expect. It is demanding and a lot is expected of you. But with the right mind set and determination it is really worth it.
Martin Stevens, 39, CIPFA Finance Apprentice
I’ve spent most of my working life working in the construction industry as a self-employed electrician’s mate. A few years ago, as the recession worsened, the industry began to be seriously affected and I found myself without work for long periods. It was during this time that I enquired at my local Jobcentre about possible training courses. I was informed that an AAT course was available at a local college, and I signed up immediately.
After a few weeks on the course I felt things weren’t progressing quickly enough so asked my lecturer if I could continue the course at my own pace. He agreed. From that point on I sat and passed my Level 2 exams in six weeks, one month ahead of schedule, before moving onto Level 3.
I completed all seven Level 3 exams in ten weeks, three months ahead of the scheduled completion date. I then asked my lecturer if I could progress to Level 4, he was very happy for me to do so. I sat and passed all five exams in the remaining three months.
From the outset of my studies I set myself a strict timetable, which I stuck to. I also found it really useful having a study partner to revise with.
I am now enrolled on CIPFA’s new finance apprenticeship that is currently being piloted in the West Midlands. Through the programme I am continuing my studies with CIPFA’s Professional Qualification whilst gaining invaluable work experience with Grant Thornton in Birmingham.
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An alarming number of A Level Students have no back-up plan if they fall short of achieving the grades they need to get into university.
UCAS has published a review acknowledging the flaws in its current system and proposing a significant new set of changes to the university admissions process in the UK. Here’s our lowdown on the proposed changes and what they could mean for students…
According to a recent survey conducted by the Magic Circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the next generation of ‘City lawyers’ believe that job satisfaction, career progression and work-life balance are more important to them than salary. Surely not, right? All wannabe lawyers are in it for the cash, aren’t they? Well, read it and weep people. The statistics don’t lie…
As graduation ceremonies take place up and down the country there have been some pretty amazing wins and fails at various universities.
A report has suggested that graduates should work in the city they attended university by being offered a “golden handcuff”.
Graduate unemployment fell from 8.5% to 7.3% in the past year, marking the decrease drop in early graduate unemployment for 15 years.
Salary expectations of recent graduates is high, as revealed by a survey conducted by thinkmoney.co.uk.
Graduates are experiencing a freeze in starting salaries, despite the increase in graduate recruitment.
A graduate was offered a job with top insurance firm less than 12 hours after he stood outside a tube station with a sign advertising his skills.
Recent research shows that 34% of students find full-time work in the career of their choice, but statistic is misleading about the true state of the graduate job market.
The number of graduate vacancies offered by UK employers is set to rise by 17% this year.
Great news for students as a 12% rise in the number of jobs means that the graduate job market has recovered to its pre-recession peak.
A graduate who impersonated Ricky Gervais’ famous The Office character David Brent has managed to land a job in advertising.
Just when you thought it was safe to settle down with a hot mug of cocoa and relax after a turbulent start to the new university year… Vacation scheme applications are now open! AllAboutLaw.co.uk highly recommend aspiring solicitors and even those toying with the idea of a career in law to apply for a vacation scheme. After all, they’re half the battle of securing a training contract!
Male and female students have distinctly different career aspirations, a recent survey has found.
New statistics from the Department of Education and YouGov reveal that students who have taken a gap year stand out in the job application process.
You may be getting a teeny bit nervous about A-level results, but new research has found that university freshers struggle to remember 60% of their A-level core syllabus.
Free school meals and ethnic minority students are demanding higher education more than ever before, new research from UCAS has found.
Calling all aspiring filmmakers! Do you have what it takes to produce an outrageously scary short film? Do you reckon you’ve got Hitchcock-esque filmmaking skills? Do you want to add something impressive to your CV and win some cash at the same time? Well, you’re in luck. River Film have launched another filmmaking competition for anyone over the age of 18.
A British doctor has said that a four-day working week will reduce high levels of stress and allow people to have more leisure time.
Employers are expected to hire 18% more graduates in 2014. Businesses across the UK are planning to recruit more graduates, suggesting that the economy is improving.
Beginning as a personal injury solicitor back in 1996, Ed Fletcher is now the CEO of a leading medical negligence and serious injury law firm. Following an accident that left him a paraplegic wheelchair user, he has dedicated his working life to defending people in their most vulnerable state. Ed shares some of the challenges he has encountered in both personal and professional life with us, and tells why specialist medical solicitors matter.
Research has found that a number of parents believe digital skills to be irrelevant to their children's employment and career success.
The UK now has 41% of working-age people with a degree-level qualification, overtaking the 37% of those with school leaver qualifications such as GCSEs or A-levels. The remaining 22% of the working-age population have not achieved a basic level of school qualifications.
It’s not often that the AllAboutCareers team gets jittery with excitement, but the prospect of playing out our long repressed CSI fantasies is all too much to bear. On November 25th, the Natural History Museum will be embracing everything forensic as they launch a Crime Scene Live event challenging ordinary people to identify a murder victim. Think Burn Notice, think CSI…
This week, the College of Law has announced a range of new scholarships for its postgraduate law programmes, which are designed to help a certain number of lucky students with their tuition fees. It’s just goes to show that, if you’ve got what it takes, doing your GDL or LPC doesn’t have to cost a packet…
AllAboutCareers.com’s make-believe mystic, Claire Voyant, is back with a vengeance. If she missed out your chosen career path last time around, then you’re in for a treat! Once again she’ll be using her very own brand of crackpot mysticism to predict the loop de loops and corkscrews of your career. Keep your arms and legs inside the carriage at all times…
Every month AllAboutCareers.com’s make-believe mystic, Claire Voyant, will be predicting the twists and turns of your very own career path. She’ll be using her distinct lack of supernatural powers to tell you exactly what’s going to happen with your career over the next 30 days.
All hopped up on sugar from eating too many candy canes, Claire Voyant is really, really, really excited about predicting the future of your career this Christmas. That’s right! AllAboutCareers’ make-believe mystic is coming to town and she’s got a sack full of career predictions for you to unwrap. You’ll find them under your Careeristmas tree, right next to the Kindle from your parents and the festive socks from your favourite auntie…
AllAboutCareers’ make-believe mystic, Claire Voyant, is currently getting ready for Christmas. She’s been pretty busy decking her halls with boughs of holly and cramming mince pies into her cavernous mouth, but she’s finally found a little bit of spare time to predict the peaks and troughs of your career over this festive period. Who knows, you might even find a job at the bottom of your stocking this year?!
A degree doesn’t always have to be directly related to what you do in the long run. Some of these celebs have degrees in subjects you’d never expect! Take a look…
If you’ve always dreamt of a career in the Secret Service, then this might be for you. GCHQ is running an online campaign inviting cyber geeks and “self-taught” hackers to try and crack a code. This is recruitment as you’ve never seen it before…
British businesses desire employees able to speak a major European language, and there are signs of a shift toward languages such as Mandarin and Arabic too.
If you’ve ever considered leaving Britain for the sun-drenched shores of Australia, you’re in luck. The Australian government has announced that it plans to reduce the current ‘pass mark’ for Brits who are looking to move to Australia and obtain a working visa. Good call…
University is getting more and more expensive, but tuition fees aren’t the most immediate problem for the UK’s student population. Student living costs are the real slap in the face; so much so that the National Union of Students (NUS) claims more and more students are turning to prostitution to fund their studies.* While this may seem a little bit extreme, new research from Standard Life reveals the significant amount of money that students are currently forking out each month…
Apprentices are a happy lot. Modern apprenticeships have been on the rise for some time and the latest report from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills suggests that employers and apprentices on the whole are pretty chuffed with apprenticeships…
A-level results were published today, with over 396,000 students already accepted onto undergraduate degree courses. This is up 3% on the previous year.
The latest High Fliers report, which surveys the top graduate employers in the UK, has revealed that three quarters of the graduate vacancies at investment banks are filled by those who have already completed an internship or some form of work experience with the company. With many internship deadlines looming, there’s more reason than ever to fire off those applications…
Over half of 1500 first-year undergraduates admitted they became interested in a particular career through somebody they knew.
It has been announced today that OFFA, the Office for Fair Access, has approved ‘revised access agreements’ for 24 higher education institutions and one further education college in the UK. These changes do not affect current university students, but they will have an impact on the choices of A-level students who are planning to go to university in 2012…
A report has confirmed what we knew all along: it’s way easier to get on the career ladder if you’re well connected.
UCAS have analysed university applications and admissions since the announcement of the rise of tuition fees four years ago.
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in AllAboutCareers’ hat…
Today (12 November) is the day where first year students are most likely to quit university.
Nearly a third of graduate interns are unpaid and it is estimated that each spend £926 a month to work for free.
How have you fared in the opening rounds of vacation scheme applications? ‘Could do better’? Not to worry, there’s still plenty of time left to get your applications submitted before the 31 January deadlines.
An analysis of 4000 business, political, media and public sector leaders has found that a disproportionate number have been educated at independent schools and Oxbridge.
Recent research has revealed that a flabbergasting 70% of students and graduates feel overwhelmed by the prospect of job hunting. Just 18% claim to be fully prepared when it comes to looking for that elusive first job after graduation.
A group of students in Manchester have had their games console, DVD player and speakers seized after complaints from residents.
Average advertised graduate salaries was £26,438 in October 2014 – a year-on-year increase of 15.7%. This places graduate jobs far ahead of any other sector in terms of their annual salary increase.
Video interviews are set to become more common graduate recruitment, as research has found that an increasing number are being asked to interview by video rather than face-to-face or over the phone.
The coalition government may have trebled undergraduate tuition fees to £9000 a year, but today dearest George Osbourne announced that a student loan system for postgraduate master’s degrees will be available from 2016-17.
Average salaries for graduates are £9,000 higher than non-graduates, with grads earning a median salary of £31,000.
The Labour Party and its bacon sandwich loving leader, Ed Miliband, look set to announce that they will ban unpaid internships if they win the next general election.
“What’s the cube root of 125?”
London universities are breaking the dominance of Oxford and Cambridge, according to official figures.
So that’s where all the jobs are…
National Apprenticeship Week kicks off today. We’ll be bringing you a series of informative, interesting and hopefully inspiring features and news stories to mark the occasion. But first: what is it all about?
Think applying for a graduate scheme means endless forms and impossible questions? Well think again, the graduate scheme at Havas Worldwide requires just140 little characters…
Students base their votes on “student issues”, and many are still angry that the Liberal Democrats failed to honour a promise to block a rise in tuition fees when the party entered into a coalition with the Conservatives five years ago. Does this mean the student voice will not be represented at the coming general election?
There were more than seven million Tweets about jobs in the last month alone. Clearly in demand as a tool for job-hunters, Twitter has announced the launch of its first-ever UK job fair, as part of a pan-European project aiming to make careers advice and information accessible to Twitter users across Europe.
They’re back! The toughest law topics return this year courtesy of Sweet & Maxwell’s Nutshells revision series with some fresh chapters voted for by your lovely selves to save you from your law exam woes! First up, it’s the first International Law nugget: Use of Force…
Vacation scheme applications are closing soon!
Over 100,000 mature students have been accepted into universities and colleges this year.
The College of Law has announced two new scholarships for students starting their BPTC course in 2012. Part of the aim of the scholarships is to encourage diversity in the Bar. So what do they involve and how can you get your mitts on one?
The end of the year is drawing close, the days are getting darker and there’s a chill in the air. Do you know what’ll warm the cockles of your heart? Our thermal predictor. Oh yes, every year we’ll wheel out our barometer to predict what’ll be hot or not next year…