An accountancy apprenticeship programme is expected to create an estimated 140 jobs in Ireland in 2022.
Firms both large and small have embraced the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) apprenticeship in which apprentices work, learn and earn at least €21,060 a year.
Applications for the two-year, work-based learning programme - based in colleges in Waterford, Limerick, Monaghan, Galway, Wicklow, Dublin and Cork - are now open for interested parties.
Dublin-based ATI graduate Katie Mikulan, 23 - who initially pursued a degree before deciding to begin the apprenticeship in 2020 - is urging Leaving Certificate students not to feel pressured to enter full-time third level education.
She said the apprenticeship was the best move she ever made.
"I began an accounting and finance degree after my Leaving Certificate, but university was not what I expected; I did not enjoy it as much as I thought and left after a year and a half,” said Katie.
"College can be expensive, but a funded apprenticeship programme is a great alternative. Starting the ATI apprenticeship was the best decision I have ever made. I wish I had begun sooner."
She completed her two-year apprenticeship with Grant Thornton, where she worked in the international corporate tax team whilst studying part-time through the ATI Academy.
She said, "I would recommend the apprenticeship if you are unsure about full-time third level education. Leaving Certificate students should not necessarily feel pressurised to go straight to university when there are so many other options available.”
Katie now works as a tax operations officer with Citibank and hopes to become a fully qualified tax advisor with the Irish Tax Institute.
“The Apprenticeship is also a great pathway to becoming a fully qualified accountant, as it offers exemptions for many of the top professional accounting bodies. The work-based element gives a great advantage in terms of career options, as experience is critical.”
Head of Education at ATI, Gabriela Airini, said the Apprenticeship enables employers to recruit and upskill staff in a cost-effective manner as training fees are covered by the state agency, SOLAS.
She said, "Graduates gain a professional QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Accounting and have acquired the skills needed to fill a range of accounting and finance roles across all sectors.
"Each year, more employers sign up and we now partner with over 331 across 22 sectors.”
According to Ms Airini, over 612 jobs have been created since the programme began in 2017.
School leavers, Leaving Certificate students, career changers and mature learners can all apply through Accounting Technicians Ireland.
For more details click here.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.