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White Horse Training Accounting for Significant Apprenticeship Success

Taking the strain out of training and building on shared expertise has been key to the success of Swatpro partners and this is certainly exemplified in White Horse Training with their significant success with a new business-led Apprenticeship approach.

By 2020, the government is planning to phase out Apprenticeship Frameworks to replace them with the newer Apprenticeship Standards. Their reasoning is simple: employer feedback was telling them that the Frameworks system didn’t leave them with adequately trained people in some cases, and they were having to supplement the scheme. This has led to a new approach to Apprenticeships which Swatpro partners have been taking forward.

White Horse Training - a specialist accountancy training provider - is celebrating taking multiple candidates successfully through the new Standards-based Apprenticeship.

Bath-based White Horse train candidates in Level 3 Assistant Accountant apprenticeships and Level 4 Professional Accountant/Tax Technician apprenticeships.

All candidates undergo AAT (Association of Accounts Technicians) exams in tandem with the apprenticeships, giving them the full breadth of industry-recognised qualifications.

“The knowledge and theory needed for both AAT and Apprenticeships is similar, so we enter candidates for both,” explains the firm’s Training Manager, Yvonne Greenwood.

The apprentices come from both accountancy practices and industry, and White Horse works with a mix of clients, ranging from large Apprenticeship Levy paying concerns, to smaller companies.

“We are a small but highly specialised company, but we have worked with a wide-range of clients over the past 20 years or so. Our customer base is always expanding,” Yvonne adds.

Recently, she was thrilled at the success of the cohorts undertaking the 15-month Level 3 and 4 apprenticeships.

Fifteen trainees completed Level 3 Apprenticeships with AAT exams (two achieving Distinctions), while 11 completed the equivalent Level 4 Apprenticeships.

Many apprentices are preparing to undertake further career progression in 2019 to build on the successes of last year.

“It’s great to observe the real proactive changes in our students as they take their course and mature and grow into their professional roles,” Yvonne says.

“We’ve had some very good feedback from their employers too, so we know the training has really given them the skills they need,” she adds.

Apprentices typically spend three days a month at White Horse building the skills, behaviours and experience they need to reach the Apprentice Standards required. They develop a portfolio of evidence of this from trainers and employers, as well sitting formal examinations.

The Apprentices ranged from education leavers to older students who were already in employment roles.

Yvonne is candid that the early experiences with End Point assessment were a “learning curve” for all involved, but says as the new scheme progressed so EPA providers have worked much more closely with training providers and liaison is now good and relationships sound.

As for the students, “they’ve been delighted with their progression,” Yvonne notes.

The professional discussion part of the syllabus has even been described as “enjoyable”.

“No one really looks forward to tests, but we found our students came out happy that the discussion reinforced how much they knew – they drew confidence from having their expertise showcased.”

White Horse is now busy preparing for two new cohorts of apprentices to start in February.

The intense demand means the company now starts two cohorts at each level a year, rather than just one.

“We’re seeing a bigger uptake, both from Levy payers and SMEs. We will be training roughly 50% more students this year,” Yvonne confirms.

“Our information is that the job market in this sector is pretty buoyant for both larger and smaller employers,” she adds.

The success may lead White Horse to do a little number-crunching themselves and expand if demand continues to rise.

Another success for a Swatpro partner carrying out its mantra of making training stress-free for the employer, and worthwhile for the trainee.

White Horse Training Accounting for Significant Apprenticeship Success