Katie Mikulan, who initially pursued full-time third level education, but found it did not suit her, said the decision to begin the ATI Apprenticeship was the best she has ever made. Pic: Fintan Clark
Kildare students have been urged to consider an accountancy apprenticeship programme which will create 140 jobs nationally this year.
Applications are now open for the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Apprenticeship-based in colleges in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Monaghan, Waterford and Wicklow.
And a graduate of the programme has advised Leaving Certificate students currently sitting their exams not to feel pressurised into entering full-time third level education.
The ATI Apprenticeship is a funded, two-year, work-based learning programme in which apprentices work, learn and earn at least €21,060 a-year.
Large firms and smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector, have all embraced the programme.
Dublin-based ATI graduate Katie Mikulan, 23, who initially pursued a degree before deciding to begin the Apprenticeship in 2020, said it 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, who hails from Skerries, North Dublin.
"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 added.
After quitting university and working as a customer assistant at Tesco and a beauty adviser in Boots, Katie opted to pursue a career in accounting after taking on an account manager role with Clarins and gaining a certificate in book-keeping.
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, located at the Institute’s headquarters in Chartered Accountants House on Dublin’s Pearse Street.
"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.
'A GREAT PATHWAY'
"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."
Grant Thornton Managing Partner, Michael McAteer, said the programme is a win-win for the employer and the apprentice, allowing firms broaden their client offering and provide excellent career prospects for students.
Gabriela Airini, Head of Education at ATI, 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 explained: "The Accounting Technician Apprenticeship continues to contribute towards job creation and business growth in Ireland with over 612 jobs created since the programme’s foundation in 2017.
"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."
School leavers, Leaving Certificate students, career changers and mature learners can all apply through ATI.
For more details see accountingtechniciansireland.ie.
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