Accountancy apprenticeships provide an alternative for school leavers who prefer practical training to a full-time college programme – or those who started a college course and found it did not suit them.
An accountancy apprenticeship programme is set to create 150 jobs in the private and public sectors throughout Ireland this year.
Applications have opened for the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Apprenticeship, in partnership with further education colleges in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Meath, Monaghan, Waterford and Wicklow.
“Learning and development can be matched through progression within our finance team. And the programme has been such a success for us that Siro has taken on another apprentice”
The apprenticeship is a funded, two-year, work-based learning education and training programme in which apprentices work, learn and earn at least €22,035 a-year while attending lectures one day a week at a local college.
Making the numbers add up
It provides an alternative for school leavers who prefer practical training to a full-time college programme – or those who started a college course and found it did not suit them.
It is also an option for existing employees and mature learners who want to pursue accounting.
The apprenticeship enables employers recruit and upskill staff in a cost-effective manner as training fees are covered by state agency, SOLAS.
Employers can also avail of a grant of €2,000 per-year for each apprentice they employ.
Large firms and smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the programme.
Dublin-based Tsuika Cheung, 32, is in the second year of her apprenticeship with fibre broadband wholesalers, Siro at their Carrickmines headquarters.
The Hong-Kong native, who lives in Sandyford, Co Dublin, said being able to work and learn at the same time has enhanced her career prospects and provided her with the option of becoming a fully qualified accountant.
“Though my background career was in accounting, I needed to update my skills to reflect Irish standards after moving here with my family,” said Tsuika.
“The Accounting Technicians Ireland apprenticeship programme was perfect for me and suits a wide range of people.
“Leaving Certificate students who are unsure of what to do, employees in the sector who wish to further their careers, or career changers who cannot afford to give up their jobs for full-time education.
“You get two years’ work experience, which is so valuable when applying for jobs, and you earn while you learn.
“Also, the apprenticeship gives you multiple exemptions if you wish to study to become a fully qualified accountant.
“The knowledge I gain through college can be easily applied into everyday practical work immediately, which makes it easier to understand and remember.”
Gillian Noonan, finance manager at Siro and Tsuika’s workplace mentor, said the programme is a win-win for the employer and the apprentice.
“The Accounting Technicians Ireland Apprenticeship has been a huge success for Siro,” said Gillian.
“The work-based learning is very much in tune with the evolution of the accountancy environment. At Siro, we are very focused on sustainability and there is related course work on this.
“Learning and development can be matched through progression within our finance team. And the programme has been such a success for us that Siro has taken on another apprentice.”
Gabriela Airini, Head of Education at ATI, said the apprenticeship enables employers to recruit and upskill staff in a cost-effective manner.
“The Accounting Technician Apprenticeship continues to contribute towards job creation and business growth in Ireland with over 650 jobs created since the programme’s foundation in 2017,” she said.
“Graduates gain a professional QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Accounting and have acquired practical professional skills needed to fill a range of accounting and finance roles across all sectors.
“ATI is continuing to work with over 350 apprenticeship employers which have hired Accounting Technician apprentices across 22 sectors.”
Leaving Certificate students, school leavers, career changers, and mature learners can apply here
Main image at top: Second and first-year Accounting Technicians Ireland apprentices Tsuika Cheung and Noelia Zamora with their mentor and Siro finance manager Gillian Noonan (centre). Pic: Fintan Clarke