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What do AAT accountancy apprentices learn in their off-the-job learning?

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 6th of March 2020 Hadyn Luke 06/03/2020


What do AAT accountancy apprentices learn in their off-the-job learning?

AAT Accountancy apprenticeships can lead to a rewarding career with a host of professional opportunities and increased earning potential. An essential part of accountancy qualifications, off-the-job learning complements an apprentice’s in-work training and helps to broaden their knowledge base.

What is off-the-job learning?

It’s a government requirement that 20% of an apprenticeship is spent in off-the-job learning.

This must be away from the apprentice’s usual working duties and should teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours that relate to their subject discipline, based on a commitment statement agreed at the start of the apprenticeship.

It can be delivered in a classroom in an external location or at the apprentice’s usual workplace and should take place during their normal working hours.

Activities such as assessments and progress reviews are not considered to be off-the-job training.

You can find out whether an activity constitutes off-the-job learning by consulting the Government’s flow-chart.

What are the benefits of off-the-job learning for apprentices and employers?

Although off-the-job training means time away from the workplace, the apprentice will develop additional knowledge, skills and behaviours to help them reach occupational competency.

The employer will see the benefits in the apprentice’s ability to carry out their role and make a positive contribution to the company or organisation.

What do AAT accountancy apprentices learn in Level 2?

The AAT Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting, as delivered by CMS Vocational, gives the apprentice a solid foundation in finance administration and prepares them for junior and entry-level roles in accountancy.

Running over two academic terms, it comprises four unit assessments:

  • Bookkeeping Transactions
  • Bookkeeping Controls
  • Elements of Costing
  • Using Accounting Software

Plus one Synoptic Assessment, completed at the end of the programme, which tests the understanding of connections between these elements, with additional content from the Work Effectively in Finance unit.

What do AAT accountancy apprentices learn in Level 3?

Also running over two academic terms, the AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting qualification comprises a more complex range of tasks. The four mandatory units are:

  • Advanced Bookkeeping
  • Final Accounts Preparation
  • Management Accounting: Costing
  • Indirect Tax

Again, there is also a Synoptic Assessment, with an overview of three of the four mandatory units, plus content from the following two units:

  • Ethics for Accountants
  • Spreadsheets for Accounting


Some employers may feel that off-the-job learning is a distraction, but in fact it’s an essential part of the apprenticeship and a government requirement.

With the right approach, off-the-job learning will benefit both the apprentice and the organisation they are working with.

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