UK policymakers should take action to broaden access to the accounting profession, using apprenticeships and work placement schemes, the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has said.
In a submission to the Science and Technology Select Committee’s call for evidence in bridging the UK’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills gap, published today, ACCA suggests:
As ACCA prepares to offer its own Level 4 Accountancy/Taxation Technician Apprenticeship to students aged 16+ in England, it has pledged to also support members in opening up more apprenticeship places.
However, with recent ACCA research showing that almost a third of British 16-18 year olds have received no career advice on apprenticeships, ACCA has also called on the government to improve careers guidance and the visibility of apprenticeship routes for students.
Secondary education access
Drawing on the success of ACCA Scotland in working with colleges to embed ACCA qualifications within Level 3 Accountancy Foundation Apprenticeships for 16-18 year olds, ACCA has highlighted the benefit of the Level 3 route in improving visibility of the accounting profession during secondary education.
With recent ACCA research showing that almost a third of British 16-18 year olds have received no career advice on apprenticeships, ACCA has also called on the government to improve careers guidance and the visibility of apprenticeship routes for students.
Closing the STEM skills gap
STEM subjects have historically attracted lower levels of female students and ACCA’s submission highlights the drastic need for initiatives that give women the coaching and learning development they need to enter STEM related professions. On top of this ACCA highlights the need to address perceptions of the profession early on in a student’s career.
“It is great to see that the government is considering practical solutions to minimising the STEM skills gap at a secondary school level,” said John Williams, head of ACCA UK.
“The world of work will change beyond all recognition over the next twenty years. We cannot afford to fail our younger generation by not providing advice, guidance and opportunity in developing the skills that the world needs.
“Vocational courses can be invaluable in giving students early exposure to a profession along with a range of transferable skills.
“If we can open more access routes to STEM-based careers, such as accountancy, we will see improvements in the social mobility and diversity of the profession.”