100 jobs boosted thanks to a new accounting apprenticeship program
An accounting apprenticeship program that allows students to work, earn and learn is set to create 100 jobs in Northern Ireland.
The Accounting Technicians Ireland’s Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Accounting is a two-year, funded, on-the-job training program in which locally placed apprentices earn at least the national minimum wage and above.
Applications are now open for the program, which begins in September, and is offered by the regional colleges of Belfast, Coleraine, Derry, Lisburn, Newry and Omagh.
Apprenticeship offers an alternative to school leavers who prefer full-time practical college training, or to those who may have taken a university course and found it to be unsuitable for them.
It is also an attractive option for existing employees and mature learners who want to get started in accounting.
Large companies and small firms, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the program.
A County Down woman who achieved the highest marks on the island of Ireland as an accounting technician apprentice in Ireland urged more students to follow her path.
Zara Malcolmson (21) from Rathfriland went straight to the higher level apprenticeship run by Southern Regional College in Newry, after completing her A-levels.
She attended university one day a week while the other four worked with SM Vint and Co Accountants in Banbridge.
Zara achieved top marks in her second year exams and accepted the offer of a training contract with SM Vint to continue her studies in Chartered Accountancy.
She said: “I really enjoyed the work aspect because being in the office four days a week gave me a lot of experience. In addition, the skills I learned from the study modules were very applicable to the job I was facing.
“The work experience I have gained cannot be gained from a typical university course. Learning makes studies much more employable. And you earn by learning. It’s state funded, so there are no student loans and you bring home a salary.
An extension of the new apprenticeship incentive scheme was announced by the Economy Ministry earlier this month, which aims to help employers recruit apprentices. Until March 2022, employers will be entitled to up to £ 3,000 for each apprenticeship created.