Assessing a study support package

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When considering the study packages on offer from a potential employer, there are a raft of issues to think about, depending on your personal circumstances. It could be that a potential new employer is willing to invest more than you think in your tuition and exams, knowing that if they invest in you, you will be more likely to stay for a longer period.

Many job offers state they pay ‘…salary plus study support’. However, there is often no formal confirmation regarding the precise level of study support. As such, trainees need to be able to present their own cases well with figures and market rates. When you receive a job offer, consider putting together a proposal you believe is acceptable.

Questions

Detail the costs, benefits and drawbacks of each option and try to anticipate any questions an employer may have.

Do expect to compromise, so know the minimum requirements you will accept. For example, a four-day revision course may not seem excessive, but your company may want to knock you back to two days, meaning you have to use two holiday days.

Some employers will only reimburse the cost of courses and exam fees once trainees have passed the exams, but not in the event you fail any and have to retake.

Others will be give paid time off to revise, while some will only give paid time off for the exams.

Leave

Some allow two days study leave per exam, plus exam day, while others stretch to seven days plus exam days for first sittings. Others may even be prepared to cover exam-related travel expenses.

If you favour home study, discover in advance whether your potential employer will pay for your study books, revision course and determine in advance what level of study and exam leave they are prepared to pay, as well as exam fees.


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Depending on your short to mid-term plans, it is also advisable to understand whether you will be tied in to pay 50% or part of the study costs back if you leave the company within a fixed time period, such as before completing your exams or within one year after completion.

This can run into the thousands of pounds if you don’t stay inside the tie-ins – some employers will even insist on repaying all costs if you leave early.

Clauses

Some employers have clawback clauses, while others adopt an approach of ‘I don’t want to make you stay if you don’t want to’.

Others insist you pay back a percentage of study costs, typically in the region of 25% via salary sacrifice over two to three years. Also, be aware that some employers will offer a pay rise after exam passes, while others will negotiate the next 12 months of study in advance.

‘Full study support’ tends to include all tuition and revision courses covered, plus materials, travel and holiday allowances not affected by study or exam days.

However, a good study package comes down to you and the employer.

Study packages: how our employers support us...

Abhishek Jothirajan, Chelsea FC trainee management accountant: ‘The club has always been very supportive in how I am getting on. I appreciate they have committed themselves to ensure I have the resources I need to excel in my exams. This includes textbooks, online classes with BPP and leave to take exams.’

Alex Caparelli, Tottenham Hotspur FC finance manager: ‘The club put together a study support package and they really wanted me to qualify too. I am not a one-off either – we have a trainee accountant studying ACCA now, while another will start after completing another qualification.’

Author: Alex Miller, writer


More information

This article was first published in Student Accountant in May 2024Get the SA app now

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