Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a multi-stakeholder initiative steered by the European Commission. The originator of the pledge is solely responsible for implementing the actions outlined in the pledge.

Author:ICAEW - Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Country:United Kingdom
Start Year:2015

Sharon Spice, Director of Global Student Recruitment



Types of organisation:Professional bodies and networks

ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 144,000 chartered accountants worldwide. We provide qualifications and professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

ICAEW is part of the UK ‘Apprenticeship Trailblazers’, an initiative which seeks to create entry and progression routes for young people and to provide alternative pathways to higher-level qualifications. Trailblazers bring together groups of employers to lead the way in working together to design apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches to make apprenticeships world-class. As member of the ‘Accountancy Trailblazer Group’, ICAEW has been actively involved in the development of two new apprenticeship standards (for professional accountants and for professional accounting technicians) which will replace current apprenticeship frameworks by the academic year 2017-18. ICAEW is also an active member of the Professional & Business Skills Council (PBSC) Skills Taskforce, designed to help achieve 10,000 annual starts in the sector by 2017-18.

These new apprenticeships standards will gradually replace the existing ‘Higher Apprenticeships’ developed by ICAEW, PwC and several other employers focusing on Assurance/Audit and Tax. The Trailblazer Apprenticeships have been built around a core framework which enables apprenticeships to gain a mix of technical knowledge, wider competencies and higher level business skills. As nationally-accredited one or two-year work-based training programmes, they combine on- and off-the-job learning, classroom tuition, personal development. The programme includes a recognised qualification – for instance, in the case of the scheme for accounting technicians, ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (ICAEW CFAB). The Certificate covers the first six exams of ICAEW’s chartered accountancy qualification, the ACA. In addition to administering the examination and results process for ICAEW CFAB and providing appropriate student support, ICAEW also assists organisations in recruiting apprentices, via the advertising of vacancies.

ICAEW engages with over 4,500 schools and colleges – as well as two-thirds of universities in the UK, to:

  • Inspire and inform students of the opportunities available to them in the accountancy profession, including via university and non-university routes
  • Help improve employability skills.

In 2015, ICAEW will also run a new campaign to promote all routes in the accountancy profession, through initiatives with teachers, careers advisors, parents and employers. These include teacher challenge, careers advisor events and case studies presenting the variety of routes into the sector.

Area of action: Supply
Area of action: Quality
Area of action: Image
Area of action: Mobility

ICAEW is working with other UK professional bodies, audit firms, the NHS, tuition providers and small / medium size firms within the Trailblazer programme (as approved by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).

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