Cracks began to appear in the transitional arrangements for the new ACA qualification during a meeting of the English ICA education and training forum last week. As deputy chairman of the education and training directorate George Ridgeway pledged the institute would deliver the new qualification to the ‘best timetable’, trainers and student representatives claimed to be more confused than when they arrived for the meeting. The transitional arrangements for students as training bodies shift from the existing course to the new ACA caused the most confusion. There were fears that the move could mean students try to drop out of existing courses to take the new qualification. There was also confusion over when the courses will be able to start. Student council member Vanessa Harrison demanded an explanation as to when the institute would have a timetable in place and was not reassured when Ridgeway and Professor Brian Chiplin, institute executive director of education and training, were unable to offer a firm date for the timetable to be published. Questions marks are also hanging over the cost of the learning materials which will be produced by the institute for the first time. John Jackson of Pannell Kerr Forster said: ‘I am very concerned that the course is still too expensive. Where this is going wrong is that we need some guidance as to how we can get the costs down. ‘I feel very worried about the criticism I am going to get from partners in my own firm about the costs.’ Further details of the implementation of the new ACA can be found on the institute website: www.icaew.co.uk.
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