From education to employment

Accountancy body calls for expansion of Scottish Apprenticeship scheme

women working in office
  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has called on the Scottish Government to prioritise work-based qualifications and training.
  • ACCA highlighted that innovative new qualifications are often seen as inferior to traditional courses.

Global accountancy professional body, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has called on the Scottish Government to ensure work-based qualifications and training are placed at the centre of ongoing reform to Scotland’s skills system.

In a letter sent to the Minister for Higher and Further Education, Graeme Dey MSP during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, ACCA, which has 10,000 students and members in Scotland, outlined its support for making faster progress upscaling new qualifications which integrate workplace learning, highlighting that despite positive feedback from employers, numbers on new apprenticeship courses are still low.

ACCA highlighted that innovative new qualifications, such as the Higher-equivalent, school-based Foundation Apprenticeship and the degree-level Graduate Apprenticeship, suffer from low awareness amongst employers and are too often seen as inferior to traditional courses.

The Graduate Apprenticeship was developed to respond to feedback from employers and individuals, combining a degree and high level of professional knowledge, whilst working and achieving crucial practical experience and skills. In accountancy, the course also incorporates the professional accountant qualification, which might traditionally be completed over a series of years, following a degree.

ACCA Strategic Engagement Lead for Scotland, Susan Love said:

“Over the last five years, these new qualifications have proved their value to employers and learners and it’s now time to embed them as part of our post-school learning and training landscape. Funding and delivery need to be reshaped to open up greater access to Graduate Apprenticeships.

“The independent review of Scotland’s skills landscape, authored by James Withers, highlighted the lack of parity of esteem between different education and training pathways, whereby structures, funding, and attitudes skew towards certain qualifications over others. This often leads to a mismatch between supply and demand in our skills system. Where innovation in new approaches has been successful, we need to get behind it and I hope we’ll see that reflected in the Scottish Government’s planned reforms.”

Data from Skills Development Scotland shows that, in 2020-21 (latest data available) there were 125,900 entrants to Higher Education Institutions, with a total university student population of 282,875. Graduate Apprenticeship currently accounts for less than 1% of these enrolments.

Visit ACCA’s website for more information.

Related Articles