The Professional Services Higher Apprenticeship offers two distinct pathways in Assurance/Audit and Tax, providing an alternative route into the accountancy and finance professions — one that gives trainees the opportunity to earn a salary while studying for respected professional qualifications.


Who are these higher apprenticeships for?

The Higher Apprenticeships in Assurance/Audit and Tax have been created by professional membership organisation ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) in partnership with employers. These work-based training programmes are for anyone who has completed A-levels (or equivalent), and offer a combination of on and off-the-job learning, classroom tuition and personal development.

Apprentices study for the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB) and, on completion, will also gain a Diploma in Accounting and Business, a Diploma in Audit or Tax Practice (depending which pathway you choose), and a certificate for the Professional Services Higher Apprenticeship (Assurance/Audit or Tax pathway).

Apprenticeships such as these don’t simply benefit trainees. They benefit employers, too. According to research from ICM, the talented people who complete Higher Apprenticeships (level 4 and above) are valued as the most desirable employees, beating graduates into second place. Of those employing apprentices, 80% say they make the workplace more productive, and 92% say they lead to a motivated and satisfied workplace.


Success story

Charlie Hughes was accepted onto the Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit in 2012 with BDO, an Accountancy and Business Advisory firm. As an Audit Trainee, he was placed on a one-month training course covering Accounting, Assurance and other aspects of Auditing. Immediately afterwards, Charlie was able to put his newly-acquired knowledge and skills into practice. No two days were ever the same for him during his training.

“From the multiple clients that I have worked with, I have already built up a portfolio of industry experience, ranging from manufacturing to real estate, and not-for-profit to well-known high street retailers,” says Charlie. “The best part of my job is the opportunity to instantly take the knowledge I have gained and put it into practice in a real life situation.”

“Having the opportunity to experience this first-hand has been really valuable; ultimately I will have the knowledge and ability to set up my own business one day if I want to!”

Mark Protherough is Executive Director, Learning & Professional Development, at ICAEW. He stresses that Higher Apprenticeships in this area are valued by employers and sought after by students. “By co-operating with programmes like these,” he says, “ICAEW has sent a clear message to employers and students that an apprenticeship in the professional services sector is a high quality investment in the skills they need for the future.”

Register your interest in these Higher Apprenticeship programmes and we will send you a regular e-newsletter with apprenticeship opportunities, hints and tips about how to be successful at interviews, information about careers events and lots more.

A Toolkit is also available to students providing advice, hints and tips on how to gain a place on an apprenticeship programme, and guidance on employability skills and interview skills.