Zoe Fitzgerald took up the ATI Apprenticeship with Cork City Council after finishing college. Photo: John Kelly

Accounting apprenticeship launches students new careers

Graduates in Cork are launching new careers in finance through a national accounting programme.

Available at Cork College of Commerce, the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) apprenticeship is a funded, work-based learning programme that sees apprentices earn at least €21,060 per year.

Leaving Certificate students, graduates, mature learners and career-changers can apply for the programme through Accounting Technicians Ireland.

UCC science graduate, Zoe Fitzgerald (25), took up the ATI Apprenticeship with Cork City Council after finishing college.

Studying 1 day a week with Cork College of Commerce, Zoe spent the other 4 days learning on the job.

She explained: “I sat my Leaving Certificate in 2015 and went on to study a degree in Science Education at UCC. During my 2nd year I knew it was not really for me, but I finished the course and took a year out to decide what I wanted to do. I really enjoyed accounting and business subjects at school, so when I saw the Accounting Technicians Apprenticeship, it appealed very much and seemed like a great fit.”

She added: “The combination of work and study provides a great balance. For me, the most important part of learning is applying your knowledge.”

Macroom graduate Matthew Casey, said the apprenticeship, which allows participants to work, earn and learn, provided him with the perfect career launching pad.

Having completed his apprenticeship with Crowley and McCarthy Chartered Accountants in Clonakilty, Matthew now works as an Audit Associate with Moore Accountants in Cork city.

“It is a fantastic programme, a real hands-on experience from start to finish. I would recommend the accounting technician apprenticeship to anyone interested in accounting,” he said.

According to Gabriela Airini, Head of Education at Accounting Technicians Ireland, 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 of the economy.

“Many are offered permanent employment contracts following the programme with the employer they were apprenticed with. Each year, more employers sign up and we now partner with over 331 employers across 22 sectors.”

For more details see accountingtechniciansireland.ie.