University or Apprenticeship? 10 reasons why an AAT apprenticeship could be the route of choice for aspiring accountants!
By Alison German
If you’re looking to become an accountant or work in finance, an apprenticeship (incorporating the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification) could be the way to go! You will gain practical skills and knowledge, work experience, a wage and a qualification – all at the same time!
Take a look below at some of the reasons why an apprenticeship should be on your radar.
- You will bypass debt!
An AAT apprenticeship is a debt free route to a career in finance. Not only will you be earning a wage, you will have no course fees to pay as these are all paid by your employer! What’s more, many apprentices stay with their employer after completing their apprenticeship, going on to work their way up with further education and training. According to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, 85% of apprentices will remain in employment, with 64% of those staying with the same employer.*
- You will earn money straight away!
An AAT apprenticeship should be considered for the financial benefits alone. Apprentices will immediately start earning a wage when they begin employment. The average pay rate for an apprentice stands at around £170 per week*, with many apprentices’ earnings rising as they become more experienced and take on more responsibility. Sounds good, right? But there’s more…
- You will earn much more over a lifetime!
According to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the earning potential of those who gain a higher apprenticeship will increase by £117,000 more over their lifetime than someone without one*. Among a long list of exciting careers you can aim for with an accounting qualification include working in forensic accounting, education and research, global charity finance – and much more!
- You’ll gain a trusted, industry recognised qualification!
The AAT accounting qualification is globally recognised and valued. As the courses have been developed in conjunction with employers, this means you will learn the most relevant and up-to-date skills required by industry; including managing finances, budgets and cash flow. What’s more – completing an accounting apprenticeship will earn you a generous fast track to chartered accountancy. You will gain exemptions with all the UK chartered and accountancy bodies: ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA, ICAS and CIPFA.*
- You’ll achieve that all-elusive professional status and AAT membership!
Completion of the AAT qualification means you automatically become an AAT affiliate member. Further work experience will then allow you to become a full member of AAT, and use the designatory letters MAAT after your name. The professional status and credibility associated with these letters will increase your opportunities for career progression and boost your earning potential even further!
- You’ll gain a varied learning experience and network with industry professionals!
A combination of workplace experience and college tuition will allow you to learn from industry professionals, develop your knowledge and practical skills, and make meaningful connections that will prove invaluable as your career develops.
- You will get a head start in the world of work!
Proving you have relevant, practical experience is essential to securing your first role and kick-starting your career in any industry, but no more so than in finance. In a competitive job market, a theoretical knowledge of accounting alone is simply not enough to stand out. You have to be able to understand how this knowledge applies to real clients. Having several years’ worth of direct, practical experience on completion of your apprenticeship is therefore a significant advantage and addition to your CV!
- You will start supporting the economy early!
Apprenticeships are forecast to contribute over £3bn by 2022, and it is estimated that the average apprentice improves business productivity by £214 per week.* As such working as an apprentice means that you are helping to ensure real-life growth and productivity within the workplace and contributing to the economy.
- You can still go to university later on – and gain exemptions!
For many people university is the dream, but choosing an apprenticeship over university now doesn’t mean you will never make it to campus halls in the future. On the contrary, successful completion of the Higher Accounting Apprenticeship gives you exemptions from certain finance and accounting degrees. This means that, depending on the course, apprentices may be able to transfer credits and fast track to the right level on a degree should they wish to continue their studies.
- You’ll have a competitive edge!
Think about where you’ll be once you’ve completed your apprenticeship – you will be qualified to undertake a range of accounting tasks and be able to work towards chartered accountancy if you so wish. You will have the competitive edge of real world experience and skills learnt from on-the-job training. What’s more – think about what you will be paying for this opportunity…absolutely nothing! Your employer will cover the cost of your training. Put simply, you are gaining a qualification and accumulating valuable work experience – and being paid for the opportunity to do so! What’s not to love?
If you’re thinking that an apprenticeship could be for you, start your journey with CAW Business School below!
The AAT Accounting Apprenticeship at a glance…
- AAT Accounting: Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
- Assistant Accountant: Level 3 Apprenticeship
- Professional Accounting/Tax Technician: Level 4 Apprenticeship
Useful sources to get started