Grant Thornton and Babington agree partnership for apprenticeships

04 December 2020 3 min. read
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Grant Thornton has extended its partnership with training provider Babington to deliver apprenticeships in the professional services sector. The Accountancy Apprenticeships are aimed at helping organisations up-skill their people and develop the finance function, and have already been accessed by close to 1,000 people since their launch three years ago.

Justin Rix, UK Head of Talent Solutions at Grant Thornton, said of the news, “Our partnership with Babington is an innovative and market leading approach to delivering first-class accountancy qualifications. UK employers continue to point to concerns over skilled staff shortages as a major potential constraint for growth. Those using apprenticeships say they play an instrumental role in recruiting and retaining talented people.”

Apprenticeships also represent an opportunity for social mobility within the professional services sector – allowing people from different backgrounds and professions to find a route into accounting and advisory work. Grant Thornton was recently commended alongside six other professional services firms for its social mobility policies – and according to Rix, the Accountancy Apprenticeships will help boost diversity across the broader industry.

Grant Thornton and Babington agree partnership for apprenticeships

He added, “For Grant Thornton, the delivery of accountancy apprenticeships also plays a key role in delivering our commitment to create more equal access to our profession.  Apprenticeships offer people from a wider range of backgrounds a chance to earn whilst learning, creating opportunity, and improving access to the accountancy profession.”

Headquartered in the East Midlands, Babington employs more than 100 staff and operates in the fast-growing vocational training sector, providing government and privately-funded apprenticeship training in accountancy, financial services and business administration. Since its founding in 1974, the firm has come to work with around 1,300 learners per annum across the UK.

Since launching in 2017, the Accountancy Apprenticeships – which are open to new and existing employees of UK organisations at any stage in their career – have seen more than 950 people sign up. A wide range of employers have enrolled learners on the programme including: John Lewis Partnership, Ocado Group, Direct Line, Bellway Homes, Compass Group, ICBC Standard Bank, NHS and local authorities and central government departments.

The co-designed programmes draw on Babington’s expertise as a highly rated training provider and Grant Thornton’s commercial knowledge and professional expertise. Accountancy apprenticeships are a cost-effective way for organisations to up-skill their people and develop the finance function – and large employers can use the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for training and smaller employers receive a 95% contribution towards the costs. The new agreement between Grant Thornton and Babington will see this work continue for another five years, supplying hundreds more learners with AAT, CIMA and ACCA qualifications in England.  

David Marsh, CEO of Babington, stated, “Our partnership with Grant Thornton has enabled us to ensure that our Accountancy apprenticeships are market-leading with insight and support from the absolute experts. We have seen these programmes go from strength to strength and are really pleased to be re-launching this relationship for another five years. The feedback from our learners and customers has been fantastic and clearly articulates why our programmes are considered to be significantly better than others in the market. We look forward to the next five years and being able to continue to ‘Develop Better Futures’ in line with our core purpose.”