100 jobs boost through new accountancy apprenticeship programme

Zara Malcolmson from Rathfriland scored top marks on the island of Ireland as an accounting technician apprentice. Picture: Fintan Clarke

AN accountancy apprenticeship programme which allows students to work, earn and learn is to create 100 jobs in Northern Ireland.

The Accounting Technicians Ireland higher-level apprenticeship in accountancy is a two-year funded work-based learning programme in which locally-placed apprentices earn at least the national minimum wage and above.

Applications are now open for the programme, which starts in September, and is delivered through regional colleges in Belfast, Coleraine, Derry, Lisburn, Newry and Omagh.

The apprenticeship provides an alternative for school-leavers who prefer practical training to full-time college, or those who may have embarked on a university course and found it did not suit them.

It is also an attractive option for existing employees and mature learners who want to pursue accounting.

Large firms and smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the programme.

A County Down woman who scored top marks on the island of Ireland as an Accounting Technicians Ireland apprentice has urged more students to follow her path.

Zara Malcolmson (21) from Rathfriland went straight to the Higher-Level Apprenticeship run through Southern Regional College in Newry, after completing her A-levels.

She attended college one day-a-week while the other four were spent working with SM Vint and Co Accountants in Banbridge.

Zara scored top marks in her year two exams and took up the offer of a training contract with SM Vint to further pursue a chartered accountancy qualification.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the work aspect, as being in the office four days-a-week allowed me gain huge experience. Also, the skills I gained from study modules were very applicable to the work I faced.

“The on-the-job experience I gained cannot be had from a typical university route. The apprenticeship makes study so much more employable. And you earn as you learn. It is state-funded, so there are no student loans and you bring home a salary.”

An extension to the New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme was announced by the Department for the Economy earlier this month which aims to support employers recruiting apprentices. Until March 2022, employers will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each apprenticeship created.



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