Training shake-up

A major shake-up of chartered accountancy training by the Scots ICA has resulted in a new six-year course for non-graduates and a relaunch of the unpopular accounting technician qualification.

From September 1999, the Scots ICA will return to its traditional ‘apprentice’ system for non-graduates.

The institute, which recently concluded its education review, also plans to introduce a four-year ‘distance learning’ option for graduates as an alternative to its three-year block release course. It is a move designed to help small accountancy firms wanting to train accountants but struggling to meet the cost of block release training.

Peter Johnston, the institute’s chief executive, said no existing options would be dropped. ‘We are looking to help small firms who find block release expensive and very inconvenient when they have come to rely on their trainee,’ said Johnston.

After consulting with employers and students, the institute ruled out ditching the London-based Association of Accounting Technicians in favour of its own second-tier qualification. Losing the Scots’ tie-up would have been a major blow for the AAT which last year saw ACCA withdraw as a sponsoring body to create its own second-tier qualification.

Jane Scott Paul, the AAT’s chief executive, welcomed the decision and confirmed the association was working with the Scots to repackage the scheme.

The AAT product will provide an entry route to studying for the institute’s chartered accounting qualification.

Scott Paul said: ‘Our view was that it was better to work together than in competition. The AAT qualification will be relaunched in Scotland through a partnership approach that will raise awareness of the training possibilities.’

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