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How to select a training provider: live and learn

Recruiting accountancy trainees is no easy task. And once you’ve found the
right candidate, deciding which of the different accountancy qualifications is
right for your business needs is a further challenge.
But your work is still not over there. Finding the right tuition provider for
your business needs and those of your trainees is yet another test of your
endurance.

Depending on where you’re based in the UK some argue that there’s a dearth of
providers, while others suggest, privately, that providers don’t cater to
businesses’ requirements. But a scan of the tuition providers reveals a
burgeoning market, both at national and regional levels, of accountancy-focused
tutors.

But before you make your decision there are certain options you must
consider. Depending on the number of students you are training and the size and
nature of your business you may want your trainee accountants to study on a
block release basis – meaning they will be out of the office for one to two
weeks, several times a year. Alternatively most providers offer the option of
day release courses.

Certain businesses prefer their trainees to study out of work hours. Tuition
providers also cater for this, offering evening and weekend courses.

Most of the larger accountancy firms use this option. However, corporates
tend to lean towards day release or weekend and evening courses.

All of the accountancy institutes offer either in-house education centres or
accreditation schemes for tuition providers with the aim of ensuring high
standards and quality of teaching for employers (see options by institute right
and below).

Some organisations such as HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP) recruit so many graduate trainee accountants – hundreds on a yearly basis
– that they have established their own in-house training schemes.

Besides the assurance of top quality teaching, when considering where to
train your students you should factor in issues such as location, availability
of courses, flexibility, modes of study and facilities.

E-learning has become popular among younger trainees coming up through the
ranks so, whether a tuition provider offers e-learning or e-assessment might be
an important factor for you and your trainee.

Kaplan, a national tuition provider, says: ‘The real objective of a genuine,
innovative accountancy training provider is mirrored with its clients – to
create an environment where the students can maximise their learning potential,
pass with success and build successful futures for the company they are with.’

ACCA

Potential tuition providers do not need to obtain permission to run courses
for any of
ACCA‘s
qualifications. ACCA does have an accreditation scheme though – ACCA’s Approved
Learning Partner – which aims to recognise providers that meet performance
targets. There are two levels of accreditation – gold and platinum.

ICAEW

Anyone can provide ACA training, but
ICAEW Partners in Learning
have to comply with seven core principles of the scheme.
Each centre must comply and is visited regularly. There are 50 accredited
centres across the world. A full list of providers can be found at on the
institutes website. The two levels of accreditation are gold and platinum.

ICAS

ICAS
retains total control of training its students in Scotland. Outside of Scotland,
BPP Professional Education is the only provider with the contract to train the
CA qualification. BPP ICAS has training centres across the UK in cities such as
Leeds, Reading, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Luton and London. ICAS has
also recently opened a training centre in Luxembourg.

AAT

Only approved training providers may offer
AAT
qualifications. The provider may be a college, a private training organisation,
a distance learning provider or an employer. The approved assessment centre
(AAC) scheme ensures providers give students a high standard of training, as
centres have to comply with rigorous conditions in order to be approved. The AAT
ensures the quality of assessment, that it meets national standards and that
competence is consistent across AACs.

CIMA

CIMA has developed the
CIMA Learning scheme based on quality standards to ensure success in terms of
student results, satisfaction and retention levels. The scheme aims to support
tutors by focusing on key aspects of the CIMA learning matrix to provide quality
tuition to students. The institute continuously monitors quality assurance,
encouraging and disseminating good practice. There are two levels of
accreditation – gold and platinum.

CIPFA

Cipfa provides its
accountancy training through its CETC centres, part of the Cipfa group, based in
London, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh. The centres offer a range of bespoke
courses. CETC works with most public sector employers including local
authorities, central government, housing associations and colleges and
universities. As a CETC employer you receive a progress report for each module,
each term, informing you of the progress and attendance history of your
trainees.

Students needs

Flexibility in course choice, so that as difficult as the qualifications
maybe, students still have the opportunity to balance their studies, work and
social life.

Inspirational tutors with in-depth knowledge and charisma to teach,
educational and instructive materials as well as online and offline tools that
help the trainee really learn.

Convenient locations with local support teams on hand, which all create an
accessible and conducive learning environment.

(Source: Kaplan)

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