Building the future through apprenticeships | Deloitte UK has been saved
To mark Apprenticeship Week Wales, audit partner Andy Wright looks back over the last few years and the value employing apprentices has brought to him and his team in the South West & Wales region.
Over five years ago, we realised there were many very capable people making the choice not to go to university and seeking other pathways, like apprenticeships, to start their career. We also found that, in most cases, people who make a career choice straight out of school have a different motivation and their enthusiasm is infectious. By not tapping into this cohort of students, we were missing out on the opportunity to bring a new perspective in to our teams and audit practice.
So we launched an apprenticeship programme. This began initially with two apprentices in audit in the South West and 50 nationally. By 2020, more than a third of our traditional annual intake in the South West were school leaving apprentices. We expect it to fluctuate between a third and half of our annual recruitment each year locally.
I have no doubt, by offering apprenticeship programmes, we are accessing a community of young people who would never have considered a career in professional services was accessible to them. For example, people who would never consider university as an option for them, whether due to financial reasons, personal preference or just that it is not the natural next step for them, especially if they do not have the role models at home or at school to follow.
Finding the star pupil at a school where there is no tradition of pupils opting for higher education, and then providing them with the pathway to such a fantastic career is something I am extremely proud of.
It is also important to remember the young people we recruit as apprentices are often straight out of school and they typically have three years’ less life experience than, say, our graduate entrants. It is easy to forget, so we make sure we have appropriate coaching and a wider support structure in place that is available to everyone.
Our early career recruitment activity has enabled us to build stronger ties with local schools. We have been able to offer a number of skills sessions to schools relating to presentation skills and also interview training. In fact, our virtual Spring careers festival is currently underway.
We are especially keen for our team members, who are alumni of local schools, to get involved to promote what we offer. We are constantly building relationships with the local school community but there are so many schools to create links with and we are always grateful of people volunteering to help us.
I really believe that apprentices bring a fresh perspective to our team - they think about things differently and have an enthusiasm to try new things.
Many of the people I interview are academically capable and could be trained to do the job - I definitely look for a spark, someone who will make a difference to the team. I want to employ someone who will have a positive impact on the team, someone who is not afraid to challenge the status quo and someone who has a passion for working with other people and helping them to develop as much as themselves
I enjoy meeting the candidates, providing them with a chance to explain why a career at Deloitte is right for them. What I enjoy even more, is watching the people I have recruited go on to make an impact on the team and the companies we work with, ultimately having a successful career with Deloitte.
Our apprentices work with people at all levels - from graduate entrants through to partner and everyone in between. Our apprentices get exactly the same training, on the job experience, support and opportunities as our graduate trainees receive. Their learning is broken down in to three parts: college time, which is entirely supported by the firm; internal training on technical matters or softer skills; and on the job experience. All of the exams are completed during the first three years but the other two aspects are provided throughout the apprenticeship.
The apprentices I’ve worked with tell me they have thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and certainly feel that they learn an enormous amount during their apprenticeship. They may say ‘earning while you are learning’ can be challenging at times and requires commitment, but very few ever regret their decision to embark on this scheme. Especially as our apprentices have the opportunity to gain one of the most sought after professional qualifications by the time they are only 22 or 23 years old, have received vast amounts of on the job learning and experience along the way, all without the burden of student debt.
Deloitte is a supporter of Apprenticeship Week Wales and, 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.
WPCYMRU #AWWALES #BuildTheFuture
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.
Andy leads Deloitte's South West audit practice including the local Private Market team with significant experience of working with fast growing private companies from start-up to large multi-national groups. He has a wide range of experience advising businesses as they seek to expand internationally working closely with Deloitte offices in USA, India and across Europe. Andy also leads the Quality and Audit Transformation team within the UK Private Markets business. He has significant experience of working with manufacturing and retail companies, including those in the packaging, steel, automotive, Brewery and wider food and beverage sectors. In addition Andy has experience advising professional partnerships in areas which include regulatory compliance, working capital management, transaction support and LLP conversion as well as experience of non-audit services including advice on corporate governance, transaction support and working capital reviews.