Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP is set to welcome a record 213 school leavers onto its apprenticeship programme this year. This is a 13% increase compared to 2022 (188) and the highest number ever welcomed by the firm in one intake.
This year, for the first time, the ratio of school leavers and graduates joining the firm’s audit department – which hires the largest number of trainees in the business – reached over a 50:50 split, with more school leavers than graduates joining the function.
Grant Thornton is also set to welcome a record number of new joiners to its overall trainee intake, with 496 school leavers and graduates joining the firm this year combined.
As well as welcoming its new trainee intake, the firm, which is a founding member of Access Accountancy, is set to offer 218 work experience placements to sixth form students through the scheme this year – a significant increase compared to 2022 (131).
Grant Thornton UK LLP head of people and brand, Perry Burton, said: “The fight for talent in the accountancy profession is fierce and, at Grant Thornton, we’ve been evolving our approach to identifying talent for several years now, with much more of a focus on future potential and strengths, as opposed to past achievements and academic profile. Our focus on increasing our school leaver intake has allowed us to access a new, diverse talent pool that we would previously have been missing.
“The school leaver apprenticeship route offers an excellent path into the profession for young students. Our school leavers develop into well rounded business advisers, gain an internationally recognised qualification and become professionally qualified a year ahead of their peers who choose to go to university and then join our graduate programme.
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“There are now many different routes available for young people considering a career in accountancy, but we know that misconceptions remain about how to enter the profession. Our continued involvement in important initiatives such as Access Accountancy, helps us to reach young people still at school who would most benefit from the opportunity for work experience and to gain invaluable insight into the profession and the routes available to them.”
Georgia Wright is an audit associate based in Manchester. She joined the firm’s school leaver apprenticeship programme two years ago:
“I knew that I would not thrive at university and wanted to kickstart my career in a role that involved numbers, so getting straight into a job was the best decision for me.
“The school leaver apprenticeship route has built my confidence and given me independence. Getting paid whilst training meant I could afford to move out of my parents’ house and live independently. I also love that my exams directly correlate to a qualification that will open many doors in the future.”