Firms announce school leaver intake as A-level results released

GRANT THORNTON has said it will welcome over 70 school leavers in 2016/2017.

The announcement comes as thousands of sixth formers pick up their A-Levels results today.

Grant Thornton has offered 77 places on its School Leavers Programme. This year, Grant Thornton saw a 47% increase in applications for the programme, with trainees joining the firm across 20 different office locations.

Five of the people joining the firm’s School Leaver Programme have taken part in the Access Accountancy work experience programme, an industry-wide social mobility initiative

The firm has also released analysis demonstrating that the changes it has made to its selection processes for its school leaver and graduate trainee programmes, including the removal of academic barriers to entry, have widened access to those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

It found that employees who would not have met the previous academic hurdles are performing just as strongly as those who did meet it.

As well as flexible academic entry, Grant Thornton took several other measures aimed at increasing the diversity of its intake. The firm removed the emphasis on relevant work experience and extra-curricular achievements, invested in providing one-to-one coaching calls for all candidates before and after first round interviews, and created online communities for candidates to encourage peer-to-peer networking.

Rachel Hill, social mobility senior manager at Grant Thornton, said: “The proportion of candidates who were successful in gaining a place on our trainee scheme but would not have met previous academic requirements are from a more diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds than the wider population. This demonstrates that our interventions are working and we are hopeful that it will inspire other firms to review their approach to entry level recruitment and inform future policies and practices.

“Creating a diverse workforce is not only good for us as a firm, but also for our people and clients and for the future of our vibrant economy where people, businesses and communities can thrive. We are proud to be widening access to opportunity, regardless of background.”

PwC has seen a big increase in the number of students looking to join the firm straight after their A levels, as more students are now actively choosing the apprenticeship career route.

Applications to PwC’s school leaver programmes has risen by 8% compared to the same time last year and by 20% since 2014. So far this year more than 2,000 students have applied for PwC’s 160 school leaver places – that is over four times the number of people who applied in 2008.

In total, a record 45,800 people (126 applicants a day) have applied for PwC’s 3,000 graduate, apprenticeship, school leaver, paid internship and work placement positions this year. This is up from around 41,000 last year.

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