Accounting is a huge career area. Once seen as a specialised discipline – associated primarily with mathematical geniuses – it is now more accessible, with advances in computing meaning that it is less about natural numerical skill and more about aptitude and training. Notoriously a stable career amongst any economic conditions, it is seen as an option for many people, including students just finished their A-Levels, and people looking to upskill or change career. Now, South West College, an Approved Gold Learning Partner of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), is helping make this particular career option even more accessible.
Accountancy at South West College is available to students at various stages of their educational journey, be they qualified with a degree in accountancy, a related discipline, such a law or business, or just out of school. Potential applicants must have three GCSE passes including English and Maths and two A-level or equivalent qualifications, but can be either post graduate or undergraduate, with South West College’s partnership with Oxford Brookes University meaning that if you don’t have an undergraduate degree, you can gain a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Accounting while studying for your ACCA qualification. The length of time the course will take will depend on the student circumstances, with those joining from school naturally taking longer.
Course director Siobhan Breen explains the variety of students the course receives. “We have found that people with previous accounting experience are coming back to refresh and update their qualifications. This enhances their skills and creates better job security in an ever changing economy. Similarly, students can start a higher level apprenticeship after school and progress to ACCA, which will take 5-6 years including their apprenticeship, all within the local area.”
The ACCA is the global body for professional accountants, and this qualification is highly known and respected by employers. South West College offers the qualification at two levels: Fundamentals and Professional. To be a qualified accountant you must also gain supervised practical experience, with workplace experience seen as a vital component of the course. With placement opportunities available in the areas around the college, it is another reason why students have the advantage of studying while living at home, and if already in employment, being able to remain there.
Just as this course is flexible in terms of those coming in, it is equally diverse in where the students can go after it. Graduates can expect career opportunities in a wide range of areas, such as private practice, finance departments and tax specialists, and the course can be viewed as a way into these fields, or, alternatively, as a means to upskill and transfer between them.
A relatively new course, South West College is currently celebrating its first graduates in this area, and Siobhan Breen talks about the importance of local students having the opportunity to complete their accountancy education at the college. She explains, ‘we’ve had committed students on a career path, and it’s fantastic to see them emerging having been able to complete their journey with us, working from level four to level seven.’ That students are now emerging from the course is the reward that has followed continued success by those studying accountancy at South West College. Siobhan explains, “The pass rate for SWC is exceptionally high, with a pass rate of 80% and above, compared to the global average which is currently 40-45%.”
With these levels of success, Siobhan Breen is quick to reiterate that there are options available in this area to a variety of people. ‘Really,’ she says, ‘any working knowledge of accounts makes it worth coming in and having a chat. There are several options, with the chance to begin at different stages, and depending on the student, we can try and find the path that is right for them.’
For more information follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To express an interest in this course contact the course director Siobhan Breen @ Siobhan.Breen@swc.ac.uk or telephone on 0845 603 1881 and ask to speak Siobhan Breen.