Accountant explains why he prefers to employ A-Level students and not graduates

29 September 2020, 20:56

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

An accountant has explained to LBC why he prefers to employ non-graduates in an answer which may shock some.

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing "radical" changes to the adult education system in England to help boost the post-Covid economy, Iain Dale asked the LBC audience if the pandemic made listeners rethink their career path and want to upskill?

Bob from Southport called in to say he runs a medium-sized accountancy practice and the last time he employed a graduate was around 15 years ago.

This led to Iain questioning the caller and asking, "who do you employ if you don't employ graduates?"

The simple answer was "A-Level students, and train them vocationally through a technician qualification."

He said they were then supported through professional accountancy exams.

When Iain asked the caller why he decided to go down that road, Bob said most accountancy practices have a similar policy.

He told LBC he found university graduates with an accountancy degree tend to know "the square root of diddily squat when it comes to practice."

Bob added that they also have "too high salary expectation" when compared to non-graduates who have been put through vocational training.

"There's no comparison," the accountant told Iain Dale.

He said not only were non-graduates failing to acquire student debt, but they are also "earning as they learn."

Bob told Iain his accountancy company recruits via local colleges.

"Every year we will tend to take a junior on," he told LBC.

Bob urged those thinking about a career in accountancy to consider if they really needed to go to university.

"I know university can be an experience, but do you want to come out with £50-60,000 of debt, with no guarantee of a job?"

The caller said the mentality that people "must go to university" was doing a lot of children a disservice.

Earlier, Boris Johnson has said he will end the "bogus distinction" between further education and higher education in expanding the ability to get student loans.

The Prime Minister said: "We've got to end the pointless, nonsensical gulf that's been fixed for generations, more than 100 years, between the so-called academic and so-called practical varieties of education. It's absurd to talk about skills in this limited way.

"Now is the time to end this bogus distinction between FE and HE.

"We're going to change the funding model so that it's just as easy to get a student loan to do a year of electrical engineering at an FE college, or do two years of electrical engineering, as it is to get a loan to do a three-year degree in politics, philosophy and economics."

He also said that apprenticeships would be "portable" so they can move between employers.