Proposed Level 6 degree apprenticeship backed by IFA and NHS

Proposed Level 6 degree apprenticeship backed by IFA and NHS

Bridging the gap between Level 4 and 7 qualifications, the proposed Level 6 degree would act as middle-ground for new accountants.

Proposed Level 6 degree apprenticeship backed by IFA and NHS

A new Level 6 accountancy degree has been proposed as a bridge between the current Level 4 and Level 7 apprenticeships, backed by the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

In its current form, the Level 6 degree would function as an equivalent to an honours degree and would allow apprentices to learn market-appropriate information beyond the foundational Level 4 – without needing to learn the specialist skills found in a higher degree.

Additionally, the new degree would allow students to receive 80% of their training on-the-job with only 20% of training taking place outside of the business, making the degree more affordable.

John Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of the IFA, said: “For a long time, our members have expressed a desire for an improved apprenticeship programme, enabling them to provide on-the-job learning, but at the same time supporting their employees to gain degree-level knowledge, rather than just a foundation.

“We are delighted to be supporting a provisional bid to introduce a Level 6 degree apprenticeship, but want to hear back from active accountancy practices and members in business about the relevance to their businesses and their teams.”

The proposed changes

If put into action, the Level 6 would be equivalent to a degree-level course, be available through universities, and would also count towards an accounting degree.

The IFA has proposed that while it would be mostly comprised of on-the-job training (80%) with a bit of outside learning (20%), Level 6 would also explore topics that Level 4 does not, including technology, cyber-crime, MTD and data protection legislation.

While exams would still be used to test a student’s technical skills, the focus of the course would instead be on work-based learning, technology, and soft skills like consulting and negotiating.

The Level 6 degree has also been backed by Jonathan Mills, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Birmingham City University, who has been researching this idea with employers and students for several years.

Mills said: “When degree apprenticeships exist for surveyors, solicitors, and several for engineers of different types, it makes no sense that none has been created for a profession that is so important to businesses, and that can have a significant impact on the productivity of UK SMEs.”

According to Mills, the Level 6 campaign already has the provisional support of the IFA, the NHS and Thomson Reuters, but requires more backing before a formal proposal can be made to the Institute of Apprenticeships.

The IFA will be accepting comments and feedback on the Level 6 degree apprenticeship at [email protected] until 19 December, 2019. The final proposal will be submitted in early 2020.

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