Apprentices and mentors: Reimagining talent pools
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Apprentices and mentors: Reimagining talent pools

3 months ago · 2 min read · AICPA Insights Blog

Hiring an apprentice doesn’t only benefit the apprentice. The now-live AICPA® Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners provides an innovative solution to employers for a more effective, long-term recruitment strategy.

Apprenticeships improve talent pools for employers. But they also enhance the skillsets of existing employees.

This belief fueled the now-live AICPA® Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners. In this mutually beneficial partnership, mentors working at the same company guide finance apprentices on their career paths while the apprentices apply the financial skills they learn with on-the-job training.

“You want to make sure that the apprentice is getting all the support necessary,” said Steve Lutton, COO of the Institute for American Apprenticeships. “At every moment, there is an opportunity to help that apprentice get to that next step.”

By working directly with the apprentice, the mentor will also strengthen their own communication, advocacy, project management, conflict resolution and coaching abilities. This symbiosis makes apprenticeships compelling, particularly for the modern-day firm struggling to attract talent.

“It provides a pretty unbeatable package of support,” said Barry Payne, director–External Relations, Management Accounting for AICPA & CIMA, together as the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “Most importantly, the program provides apprentices with the opportunity to complete the CGMA Finance Leadership Program (FLP), which leads to the world-renowned CGMA® designation.”

A clear starting point, a compelling endpoint

The CGMA FLP includes a framework of competencies for each apprentice to learn and master — digital finance, project management, financial reporting, risk management and more.

With the framework, apprentices can see how their management accounting skills directly apply to their apprenticeships and future careers in accounting and finance.

“The apprentice has to understand what they have to accomplish,” said Matt McKenney, CEO of the Institute for American Apprenticeships. “Mentors get to leverage that framework as a way to guide an apprentice.”

Lutton agreed. “When you have something that defines the endpoint, both the apprentice and the mentor know where they are headed. There is always a transparent clear direction by everybody.”

A tailored mentorship

The AICPA® Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners program is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“The AICPA provides the framework, but the employer must apply it to their organization. There has to be some effort made that ensures outcomes and milestones throughout the apprenticeship program align with experiences. That gets designed into the program upfront,” said McKenney.

With a tailored framework, employers can determine the mentorship format. It could be the traditional one-on-one partnership or another arrangement, such as a peer learning group. Apprentices could also change mentors at certain points — based on where they work in the finance function — while still relying on the initial framework.

From mentor to potential leader

However the employer structures the format, a mentor and an apprentice’s line manager collaborate throughout the apprenticeship. This guarantees a mutually beneficial exchange and allows the employer, the mentor and the apprentice to benefit.

“The mentor, in many ways, becomes an apprentice to the leader and is learning leadership skills as they are mentoring,” said Lutton. “They’re working with the leader to master a different set of skills, and they’re going to be able to tap into when they perhaps move up or move on in the organization.”

Ultimately, a good mentor can become a future business leader within the organization, which widens the pool of in-house candidates for leadership roles. This organizational collaboration develops apprentices and upskills mentors on a micro level for the employers and apprentices and on a macro scale as American talent pools widen and enhance.

“An apprenticeship framework, on-the-job training and mentoring enable your organization to open the aperture and consider a wider talent pool,” McKenney added.

Enhance your workforce today

The AICPA® Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners program allows companies to innovate their recruitment strategy and hone the next generation of leaders within their organization through the mentoring opportunities provided for existing employees.

Join today and develop the next generation of talented staff. Contact us to have your questions answered.

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