05 October 2023

New Foundation Apprenticeship launches

Aberdeenshire Council’s Foundation Apprenticeship Team has launched a new qualification in accountancy.

Working in collaboration with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Accountants Johnston Carmichael, the Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) course has already been taken up by 36 students across four Aberdeenshire schools – Alford, Mackie, Portlethen and Turriff Academies.

Aberdeenshire Council’s FA Education Development Officer Helen Hendry said: “This FA programme is designed to give our students a head start in the world of finance and accounting, setting them on the path to success.

“We’re delighted to have joined forces with the ACCA and Johnston Carmichael to provide an unparalleled learning experience for our students as they explore the professional ethics for accountants.

“Throughout this FA, students will gain hands-on experience, valuable industry insights, and the chance to work alongside professionals in the field – ensuring that even whilst studying, they gain real-life exposure to the accounting world.”

FAs are work-based learning opportunities for senior phase secondary school pupils. They usually last for one year with pupils able to start them in either S4, S5 or S6. 

Industry sector knowledge is delivered in school and youngsters also spend time out of the classroom with employers and specialised subject tutors, allowing them to complete their apprenticeship as part of a suite of qualifications offered such as National 5s and Highers. 

By the end, pupils receive a qualification at the same level of learning as a Higher and they are recognised as entry qualifications by all Scottish colleges and universities.

Early Careers Pathway Manager at Johnston Carmichael Elisa Henderson said: “Our role is to provide insight into an ethics project and set a work-based challenge for the students, allowing them to apply their new accountancy skills within the context of a professional services firm. 

“Our involvement in this initiative embodies our values of leading our future and remaining relevant, as we share our expertise and inspire tomorrow’s leaders. 

“Our JC Futures programme provides permanent job opportunities for students after they have successfully completed their Foundation Apprenticeship and other school or college level qualification, fully supporting their development to become a qualified accountant. 

“We hope that students on the Foundation Apprenticeship will see our firm as a destination of choice for employment ahead.”

Strategic Engagement lead for ACCA Scotland Susan Love said: “As a professional body with inclusion at its core, ACCA is passionate about finding new ways to open up a career in accountancy and finance to everyone, everywhere. 

“The new apprenticeship pathway, which incorporates experience in the workplace, is a great opportunity for young people to gain valuable skills crucial to their career journey. 

“For a sector experiencing a skills shortage, it’s also a fantastic way to help develop our profession’s future talent in Scotland.”