Posted: 16 Feb. 2021 5 min. read

Apprenticeships – A fresh perspective

Phil Lane, a partner in financial advisory, talks apprenticeships and gives some insight into what he’s looking for in a would-be apprentice.

Deloitte is a people business, and we invest in our people and equip them with the resources they need to build rewarding and exciting careers. Apprenticeships have enabled us to diversify the entry paths into the firm and to engage not only a younger generation, but also to create a trajectory for the best talent to progress and develop, which is important to us.

In my experience in financial advisory, the apprentices I’ve worked with over the last few years have all brought a sense of vibrancy to the team, and infuse us with their energy and enthusiasm. I certainly admire their get-up-and-go and their drive to delve straight into the workplace after leaving school.

In my view, someone aged 18 years old who has made the decision to enter the workplace has admirable characteristics that I’m looking for in a new recruit – they’re driven, focused and well-informed. They’ve sought out and explored the opportunities available, weighed up their options and made a conscious decision to apply for this this particular apprenticeship, after determining it’s right for them and their career goals.

Some of our apprentices may have seriously considered university and discounted it either because of the financial considerations or for more personal reasons. Uni may not be suit some people and I think if someone chooses to get an immediate start to their career, then our BrightStart apprenticeship will offer them on the job learning supported by strong training and the opportunity to gain a professional qualification.

I’m involved in the interview process as one of the stages in the recruitment process is to present to a partner. The individuals I meet for the apprenticeship roles are at a bit younger than the people I usually interview in relation to other positions in financial advisory, such as graduate entrants or experienced hires. I certainly appreciate how motivated the potential apprentices are and how enthusiastically they talk about the role and what the opportunity means to them. I find them interesting, especially as part of the interview is to present on a topical business related issue where they share their perspective. This is often very different to what I might have expected, and it’s revealing as to their thought processes and inspirations.

I’m sometimes asked what I look for in an ideal candidate – drive, enthusiasm and challenge will always get my attention. You’ll need to be someone with strong interpersonal skills who has an inquisitive mind and is able to show your ability to think on your feet. Remember, exam results will only get you so far, so you’ll need to be a self-starter. For example, I’m interested to find what you’ve done in your life so far beyond exam success and hear examples of the positive steps you’ve taken during your time at school, or through relevant work experience or volunteering work, that show you have the qualities and values that match the firm’s ethos and purpose.

In my view, the fresh perspective apprentices bring is a key ingredient in what makes apprenticeships so successful – both for the employer and the individual. In my experience, apprentices not only bring fresh eyes but also challenge to our team in financial advisory. Additionally, with the development of the digital era and associated fast growth businesses, we work with people at our clients who are within a wide spectrum of age groups.  Thus I think the blend of ages in our team along with a diversity of perspectives can only help us make better and lasting connections that, in the long run, enable us to serve our clients for the better.

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2021 is “Build the Future”.

Deloitte is a supporter of National Apprenticeship Week. By sharing our stories, we would like to encourage other employers to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and at the same time help them build a workforce ready for the future.

#NAW2021 #BuildTheFuture #AskAnApprentice

Explore Deloitte’s virtual Spring careers festival, a programme of virtual events that potential applicants can join, as well as parents, teachers and careers advisors.  These range from discovery sessions, where people can chat online with our student recruitment team or current apprentices, skills workshops as well as ‘Meet Deloitte’ sessions.

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Key Contact

Phil Lane

Phil Lane


Phil leads our Consumer M&A team as well as heading Financial Advisory for Deloitte Private. He has 20 years’ experience of providing advice to corporates of all sizes and management teams on transactional activity, including acquisitions, company sales, MBO’s and capital raisings. In addition, he regularly provides strategic support to family-owned businesses on succession, strategy and long-term shareholder value maximisation.