Our partners at PwC share why they think apprenticeships are so important.
At PwC, we respect and value differences. We know that when people from different backgrounds and with different points of view work together, we create the most value – for our clients, our people and society. We offer a range of opportunities for young people who want to learn, adapt, be challenged and grow, no matter what their background. Apprenticeships are a great option for those keen to get some real work experience and we offer apprenticeships both through our School and College Leaver programmes and degree apprenticeship routes.
All of our full-time School and College Leaver programmes are designed to help develop business skills through real client work. Students also complete formal training while studying towards professional qualifications providing them with a head start in their career, supported by PwC throughout. Our apprentices earn a competitive salary, benefit from our excellent support networks and have the opportunity to continually progress their career. Just like our graduate joiners, apprentices work on varied and challenging projects, both for our clients and internally facing, making a real difference to the world of business. Thanks to our study support, joiners are coached by our people, who are experts in their field. At the same time joiners don’t have the worry of paying for course and exam fees, textbooks or revision materials.
For students keen to attend university, we offer our fully funded Flying Start degree apprenticeships. PwC covers the tuition fees while students are paid a salary throughout the programme. On our Flying Start Technology degree apprenticeship, students are put on placements within PwC where they work on cutting-edge digital and technology client projects. As an apprentice on our Flying Start Business Management programme, students work full-time, four days a week with our world-class clients and form part of our highly skilled teams in our Operate business in Northern Ireland, whilst also studying for a degree at Ulster University.
At PwC we recognise that for some students, a traditional university degree may not be the most attractive option, this can particularly be the case for households with lower incomes. Offering a range of apprenticeship opportunities is therefore very important to ensure we remain accessible to all. As a major employer, we believe we can play a positive role in increasing social mobility through our recruitment opportunities, development and progression, community and advocacy activities. Our aim is to lead by example and be recognised as an inclusive organisation where people from all backgrounds are able to work, develop and succeed while feeling valued and supported.
We would love to see apprenticeships more widely discussed and actively promoted in all schools across the UK, as a valuable alternative to university and a viable and professional option for students. We would also like to see some of the myths surrounding apprenticeships dispelled to help change perceptions which are often misunderstood by educational institutions and parents. Our apprenticeship programmes are an important part of our investment in the workforce of the future at PwC, and the work we’re doing to advance social mobility by broadening access to the firm and building an inclusive culture.
To help us widen participation, our team delivers employability skills training to pupils in social mobility target schools with higher than average free school meals, alongside national events and activities. We partner with organisations such as Sutton Trust, Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP), upReach, Uptree, the Social Mobility Foundation and Teach First, to broaden our reach.
In 2021, 16,902 secondary school students who met our social mobility criteria were supported with skills development through our programmes. Furthermore, we ran an additional 208 national events, reaching another 38,491 students from across the UK. Our social mobility schools programme feeds a supported pipeline of students through to our recruitment process. For example, students were asked if they were interested in joining PwC after completing our New world New skills work experience week (a week-long paid placement helping students develop skills needed to succeed in the workplace for those identified by our social mobility criteria), 75% were keen to explore opportunities with us, especially at apprenticeship level.